PDP welcome ECI's decision to defer J

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Srinagar, Oct 14 (UNI) Welcoming the deferring of general assembly elections in the Jammu and Kashmir, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said situation was still not conducive for such a process as more concrete measures needed to be taken to rebuild the confidence of people.

''The decision to defer the election in the state vindicated our stand,'' PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said in a statement here after the Election Commission of India (ECI) announced poll schedule for five Indian state.

She said it has been her party's considered view that before embarking on any electoral process in the state, the government must take concrete measures to address the just concerns and aspirations of the people to rebuild their confidence.

''While the proposed October 21 opening of Srinagar-Muzzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawlakote roads for trade is a significant measure towards addressing the external dimensions of the Kashmir issue, we have to move equally fast and with determination to address the internal dimensions of the problem as well,'' Ms Mufti said.

She said internally the government must reach out to the people of Jammu and Kashmir with reconciliatory and Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) addressing their political, economic and administrative concerns.

Ms Mufti said the killing of around 60 unarmed protesters by the security agencies, mass arrests of youth and political activists, destruction of properties and various other repressive measures in the aftermath of the agitation over the Amarnath land row, have inflicted deep scars on the people's psyche that would take some time to heal.

''While the deferring of polls is a welcome step, the government must now initiate a sustained process of engagement and reconciliation to rebuild the people's confidence,'' Ms Mufti said.

However, she said the components of such a process should, besides initiating dialogue with various sections of society, include cutting the strength of troops deployed on the internal security duties, revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and rehabilitation of the victims of violence and other confidence building measures as have been recommended by the Prime Minister's Working Groups on Jammu and Kashmir, otherwise the peace process will have no meaning for the people.

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