All parties must aid in restoring peace: Omar Abdullah

Jammu, Aug 12 (IANS) Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah Monday said his government would take all possible steps to restore peace in strife-torn parts of the state, and asserted that all political parties have a duty to discharge in the matter.

Chairing an all-party meeting in Jammu Monday, Omar Abdullah expressed satisfaction over the moves to restore order after Friday's violence in Kishtwar, which left three people dead and over 20 injured.

The chief minister said he hoped that normalcy would return in the shortest possible time.

Highlighting the role of the civil society and the political leadership in such challenging times, the chief minister said the state government, the different political parties and civil society groups must all work together in the larger interest of the state, so peace returns.

He said the first priority would be to safeguard lives and property in the affected areas.

Omar Abdullah said his government had ordered a time-bound judicial inquiry into the Kishtwar incident by a retired judge of the high court, and announced immediate relief of Rs.2 lakh each in favour of affected house owners and shopkeepers whose properties were gutted, damaged or looted in the clashes.

The all-party meeting was attended by BJP members Jugal Kishore and Ashok Khajuria, National Conference representatives S.S. Slathia and Devender Singh Rana, Congress nominees Ravinder Sharma and Janak Raj Gupta, People's Democratic Party (PDP) member Ved Mahajan, Peoples' Democratic Front Member Tej Ram Dogra, CPI-M member Sham Prasad Kessar, Nationalist Congress Party representative Thakur Randhir Singh, Samajwadi Party member Sheikh Abdul Rehman, Shiromani Akali Dal member H.S. Raina, and Bahujan Samaj Party's Tulsi Dass Langeh, besides also representatives of local parties.

The meeting unanimously passed a resolution which stated: "We condemn the violence which started in Kishtwar and then spread to various parts of Jammu division.

"We appeal to the people of the state to maintain communal harmony and uphold the spirit of secularism".

The meeting appreciated the decision of the state government in instituting a judicial enquiry into the circumstances which lead to the violence/disturbance in Kishtwar Aug 9, an official statement issued here said.

The all-party meeting appealed to the state government to consider a hike in the amount of money offered as relief to those whose shops or houses were damaged.

It was decided that after the situation improved, an all-party delegation would visit the affected areas of Kishtwar with a message of peace and communal harmony.

The meeting appreciated the gesture of Sajjad Ahmad Kitchloo, who submitted his resignation as minister of state for home voluntarily to uphold probity and transparency in politics.

All the Congress ministers in the state coalition government attended the meeting.


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