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Omar meets PM, Eid peace package likely

Thursday, September 09, 2010 11:41:14 AM, IANS

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Will Eid package bring peace? Kashmir has fingers crossed

The central and state governments are said to be working on an Eid package to defuse unprecedented tensions in the Kashmir Valley but separatist leaders do not seem to be enthused. With the cycle of street protests and firing by security forces taking lives and challenging the   »

New Delhi: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday evening amidst indications that the government will announce an Eid package to restore peace in the troubled valley.

The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) will, meanwhile, meet Thursday to review the situation in the violence-hit state.

"The PM had a one-on-one discussion with Omar Abdullah on the situation in the (Kashmir) valley," an official in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) told IANS.

The Manmohan Singh-Abdullah meeting, held at 7 Race Course Road -- the official residence of the prime minister, lasted half-an-hour, sources said. Later, Abdullah joined the Iftar party hosted by Manmohan Singh.

Abdullah did not speak to the media after his meeting with the prime minister.

"Today's PM-Omar discussions will be followed up at the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) and later at the full cabinet meeting Thursday," official sources told IANS.

According to the sources, a peace package will be finalised at the meetings of the CCS and the cabinet and is likely to include:

- Lifting of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from the districts of Srinagar and Badgam in Kashmir and Jammu and Ramban in Jammu region. Now all the districts of Kashmir and Jammu region are placed under the AFPSA.

- Special compensation for the families of the 69 civilians killed in firing by security forces during the past three months.

- Jobs and rehabilitation for surrendered militants.

- An employment package for the educated unemployed.

- Release of arrested youths and withdrawal of several cases related to stone-pelting.

The central government will repeat its intention to begin a dialogue with "all shades of opinion in J&K", the sources said.

Sending an all-party parliamentary delegation to the violence-hit state will be another proposal to come up at Thursday's cabinet meeting.

Political circles have been hinting at a relief package to be announced on the eve of Eid-ul-Fitr Saturday.

At least 69 civilians, mostly teenagers and young men, have been killed in firing by security forces on stone-pelting street protesters since June 11.

The cycle of violence has led to frequent shutdowns and curfew in the valley for the past three months.







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