CCG calls for peaceful Ramzan in Kashmir, urges Centre to start talks
A Delhi-based group of eminent personalities led by senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha on Monday called for cessation of violence during the month of Ramzan, scheduled to begin later this week, in Kashmir and urged the Centre to use the opportunity to begin dialogue with all stakeholders in the state.
The Concerned Citizens Group (CCG), which visited the Valley several times during the unrest last year and held talks with separatists, also asked Pakistan to strictly observe the 2003 ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) and the International Border (IB) in the state.
It urged the neighbouring country to absolutely desist from "aligning itself with forces that advocate militancy and terrorism" in Jammu and Kashmir.
In a statement signed by 21 distinguished personalities, including Sinha and Ex-RAW chief A S Dulat, the CCG said, "The holy month of Ramzan is only a few days away. We strongly urge all concerned who are wielding the gun or are pelting stones to desist from doing so during this holy month.
"We would like to appeal to the government of India and the state government also to take the lead and declare that the security forces will respond only in cases of extreme provocation and in self-defence. Let there be no violence in Kashmir during Ramzan," the statement said. The CCG said there is no respite from violence in parts of Kashmir and along the LoC and the IB.
The situation is far from normal in Jammu and Kashmir and we cannot continue to live in denial, the statement said.
"The loss of precious human lives, including of the security forces, should be unacceptable to all peace loving people and should be ended at the soonest. This will not happen automatically or through the use of force," it read.
The CCG noted that several military commanders with years of experience in Kashmir have spoken in favour of a dialogue as a necessary step towards bringing peace to the troubled region. "The suffering of people along the LoC and the IB has crossed all limits and has become intolerable.
The government must take all measures to stop this mayhem," the statement demanded, adding "the call for peace cannot be unilateral".
Justice (retd) A P Shah, Salman Haidar, J F Ribeiro, Wajahat Habibullah, Vappala Balachandran, Nirupama Rao, Aruna Roy, Syeda Hameed, Kapil Kak, Manish Tewari, Badri Raina, Zoya Hasan, Ramhchandra Guha, S Irfan Habib, Prem Shankar Jha, Shekhar Gupta, John Dayal, Bharat Bhushan and Sushobha Barve were the other signatories to the statement.