PM reviews situation in J and K

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New Delhi, Aug 16 (UNI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today reviewed the continuing tension in Jammu and Kashmir with his three senior Cabinet colleagues in the context of the law and order situation showing no signs of improvement in the state, which has been on the boil for about 45 days over the Amarnath land transfer row.

He was closetted with External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Home Minister Shivraj Patil and Defence Minister A K Antony at his official 7 Race Course road residence for nearly 75 minuts during which he had discussed a possible solution to the vexed issue in the state which borders Pakistan.

Mr Mukherjee has reportedly presented several options before the meeting on the basis of the inputs he had received from the deliberations he had in the last two days with a group consisting of former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, PCC President Saifuddin Soz and Mr Ahmed Patel, Political Secretary to Congress President Sonia Gandhi.

The meeting today was believed to have discussed the proposal to set up a new group for opening dialogue with the agitating groups in both Jammu and Kashmir regions to restore normalcy.

In his Independence day speech yesterday, Dr Singh said the situation in Jammu and Kashmir was a matter of 'grave concern' and asked those concerned to end divisive politics. He appealed to all political parties to keep the long term interests of the state in view and come together to find a permanent solution to the state's problems.

He said issues related to Amarnath, especially the issue of providing the best possible facilities to pilgrims, could only be resolved in an atmosphere of peace and goodwill.

''Dividing people in the name of religion can complicate these issues further which can also pose a threat to the unity and integrity of the country,'' he said, while appealing to the people of Jammu and Kashmir to cooperate with the government in establishing peace in the State.

''It is my conviction that all issues can be resolved only through dialogue and peaceful means,'' he said.

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