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Guv rule combines talks with tough measures in J&K

Using carrot-and-stick policy, the Centre has been tough with secessionists while on the other hand, it has taken care to send feelers for dialogue to the separatists.

, ET Bureau|
Sep 16, 2008, 03.02 AM IST
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Students of Kashmir University raise their arms while shouting pro-freedom slogans during a protest in Srinagar. (Reuters)
Students of Kashmir University raise their arms while shouting pro-freedom slogans during a protest in Srinagar. (Reuters)
SRINAGAR: The Centre is using a carrot-and-stick policy to sort out the latest crisis in Jammu and Kashmir. On the one hand, it has been tough with secessionists who have been organising violent protests and on the other, it has taken care to send feelers for dialogue to the separatists.

So keen is the Centre in offering the peace option to secessionists that it sent apex court lawyer Ashok Bhan, a member of the Kashmir committee, last week to hold parleys with pro-Pakistan Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

The ailing hawk told Mr Bhan that he was not ready for ���anything short of an Azadi offer.��� The right of self determination, Mr Geelani said, was the only way-out besides tripartite talks.

However, negotiations have not deterred the administration from going the extra mile in maintaining law and order. One hundred-and-fifty second-rung secessionist leaders s have been booked under the Public Safety Act.

Police had identified 600 youth for organising violent protests. The remaining 450 are still under detention though investigations are over.

The police has made use of video footage from various sources, including CCTV network in Srinagar, to identify trouble makers. However, secessionists claimed that most processions exhibited ���exemplary discipline,��� and alleged that police efforts to ���frame the innocent��� in cases of arson was offering another justification for more protests.

Secessionists allege that over 90% bullets that were fired by cops and paramilitary forces hit protesters above the abdomen and claimed that this indicated the administration had asked security forces to kill and not to just stop the protesters.

A civilian in Shoipan, where curfew continues for the fourth consecutive day, was killed by multiple rubber bullets that hit his chest.

Curfew restrictions used to be only for towns in the past. It is alleged that these days the Army does not permit even routine agricultural activity in villages if the local town is under curfew.

���We do work in fields but when we see an Army patrol we flee,��� said Mohammad Yaqub, a farmer in a village in Shopian. ���They say curfew is for everybody, villages and towns.���

There are also reports that the administration has gone back to the pre-CBM days by recommissioning erstwhile renegades, who were alleged to have committed several crimes during the hey days.

Utility of erstwhile renegades in controlling the situation is questionable given the fact that one of the vital epicentres of recent mass uprising was Hajan, the home of slain renegade Kukka Parry. Erstwhile renegades from the belt were the first to come out in protests, ���awakening��� Safapora.

On the monetary front, though the government has agreed to compensate the trade and industry for agitation losses in Jammu there has been no such promises for the Valley.
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