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Stop use of arms against stone throwers in Kashmir: Activists

Friday, September 03, 2010 11:57:50 PM, IANS

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Mumbai: The government should call for an immediate halt to the use of arms by security personnel against stone throwers to end the turmoil in the Kashmir Valley, a group of activists urged at a conference here Friday.

Among other things, the meeting convened by Peace Mumbai, a network of social organisations, called for an immediate withdrawal of security forces from the civilian areas of Jammu and Kashmir where over 60 people have been killed, mostly in firing by security forces, in the last three months of turmoil.

At the end of the day-long session on "Kashmir at Crossroads: The Way Forward", the speakers issued a resolution, demanding "an immediate return of all parties of different shades of opinion to the negotiating table".

"The solution lies in the political process alone," the resolution said.

They also appealed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reminding him of his "promise to have 'zero tolerance' for all human rights violations in Kashmir" and said the "draconian laws like the Armed Forces (Special Powers Act) and the Public Safety Act should be repealed as they have added to the daily miseries and humiliation of Kashmiris".

The government, they said, should "effect immediate and time-bound investigations into all cases of human rights violations and release all political prisoners arrested since February and those being held without charges".

Chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir People's Conference Sajjad Lone, editor of Srinagar-based daily Kashmir Images Bashir Manzar and activists Pushpa Bhave, Jatin Desai, Deepak Lokhande, Mazher Shaikh, Jennifer Mirza, Ritu Dewan, journalist Kalpana Sharma and others addressed the conference.

The speakers expressed their concern over curfews and shutdown calls that have caused hardships and miseries to the lives of people in the Kashmir Valley resulting in loss of working days, livelihoods and wages.

Lone also said that politicians in New Delhi go public on national televisions when Kashmir is under crisis but "they turn a deaf ear to the issue when there is silence before the storm".

 

 

 

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