Disruption in restive Jammu and Kashmir cleared: Home Ministry

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New Delhi, Aug.16 : The Union Home Ministry on Saturday said in a statement that all disruptions in the state of Jammu and Kashmir have been cleared and every effort is being made to ensure the free movement of transport and goods along the national highway.

It also said that notwithstanding improvements in the overall situation in the state, there were elements who were opposed to the normalization process, and they were indulging in activities contrary to the interests of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

"Unfortunately, due to calls for bandhs and other protests in the Kashmir Valley, despite the fact that the highway is through, there have been difficulties in the full and free movement of goods and traffic," the statement said.

It claimed that the present land transfer row involving the Amarnath Shrine "is being exploited to raise demands and slogans for opening the cross-LoC route for trade and movement of goods".

Clarifying the Government of India's position on cross-LoC intiatives, including trade, the Home Ministry said that New Delhi has already taken the initiative to facilitate the travel of persons across the LoC along the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawalakote routes, and efforts were on with Pakistan to increase the frequency of bus travel and to commence truck services between India and Pakistan.

As far cross-LoC trade was concerned, the ministry statement said that Chambers of Commerce meetings were yet to occur. It said that the Government of Pakistan has been approached on the matter since May 2006, but Islamabad is yet to give its clearance.

It further added that a meeting of the working group on cross-LoC confidence building measures in July 2008 had taken a number of decisions to simplify movements and procedures involved therein. It was also agreed last month to begin cross-LoC trade as soon as possible. India, it said, has already proposed that trade begin on the basis of lists of items proposed by each side for import and export and certain other conditions.

It said that Pakistan has agreed to reconsider so that trade can be carried out on the basis of an earlier agreement.

There were other positive developments between the two sides in relation to cross-LoC activities, and therefore, the facts on the ground show that the Government of India "has been assiduously pursuing the matter... in fact suggested further cross-LoC CBMs, which will continue to be pursued with Pakistan," the statement said, while urging the people of Jammu and Kashmir not be influenced by "misleading propaganda".

ANI

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