//PM for zero tolerance on custodial deaths

PM for zero tolerance on custodial deaths

NDTV Correspondent,  May 24, 2006 (Srinagar):

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has asserted that attempts by "some elements" within Jammu and Kashmir to disrupt peace would be firmly thwarted.

He said this while addressing the second roundtable conference on Kashmir on Wednesday in Srinagar.

Without referring to any specific incident, Prime Minister said that shameful incidents have no place in democratic governance.

This is a reference perhaps to the involvement of senior officials and politicians in a growing number of controversies in the state.

The Prime Minister also said that the government is ready to review the cases of those who crossed the border but want to come back home.

The roundtable talks with 48 Kashmiri groups comes in the backdrop of weeks of protests over controversies like the Srinagar sex scandal and the January custodial deaths.

"I have to say with great sorrow that they are some elements within the state who do not wish this dream to become a reality. Who these elements are, we all know well. Such activities only make our resolve stronger," said Singh.

Legacy of violence

"At the same time we realise that some shameful acts have occurred in the state which have no place in democratic governance," he added.

"I know this is a legacy of violence through which this state has live. But this does not mean that we will ignore it. The Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir has assured the public that full legal action will be taken against those who are responsible for these incidents," Singh asserted.

Condemning acts of violence, Singh said government would ensure that every resident of this state is protected from such terrorist acts and atrocities.

Maintaining that Centre recognised that to resolve political issues, all forms of dialogue should continue, he hoped the Hurriyat Conference, which has boycotted even the second roundtable, would at the "appropriate time" join the meet.

Tough talk

Ahead of the roundtable talks, the Prime Minister sent a tough message to the security forces.

Chairing a meeting of the Unified Command of various security forces, he said that security forces should ensure maximum security with minimum disruption of normal life.

"It is possible and desirable that you should be firm but humane, effective and efficient, in control but unobtrusive," said Singh.

Briefing reporters after the 90-minute meeting, PM's Media Advisor Sanjaya Baru told reporters that Singh asked the security forces to function at all times within the parameters of law.

Singh told them to be steadfast in its commitment to human rights while making it clear that there should be zero tolerance for custodial deaths.

Cowardly act

Describing terrorism as a cowardly act, the Prime Minister said violence has never been able to resolve any problem anywhere in the world.

Ultimately only through dialogue all problems can be resolved, he added.

Paying tributes to all those killed by terrorists, he conveyed his heartfelt condolences to their kin and lauded their contribution in preserving peace and security of the state.

The meeting was held in the backdrop of stepped up activities by militants who carried out two suicide attacks in a span of three days.

As Singh was chairing the Unified Command meeting, militants hurled a grenade at Qamarwai in downtown Srinagar.

The two-day roundtable is also being attended by Home Minister Shivraj Patil, National Security Advisor M K Narayanan, Principal Secretary to PM T K A Nair and Union Home Secretary V K Duggal. (With PTI inputs)