by the Prime Minister of India, Atal Behari Vajpayee,
|The following is the full text of the Prime Ministerís statement on the extension of the Ramadan Cease-fire for a third time.|
As honourable members would recollect, the Rashtrapatiji during his address to the joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament had given voice to the government's approach to the whole question of Jammu and Kashmir. He had then, among other things, shared with the Honourable Members of Parliament that:
The government is pursuing a multi-pronged strategy to bring peace and normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir. As part of this, it launched a major peace mission on November 19, 2000, by announcing a unilateral non-initiation of combat operations in the state during the holy month of Ramzan. This bold initiative was extended twice up to February 26, 2001. As anticipated, this was warmly welcomed by the people of Jammu and Kashmir, who are longing for an end to militancy and violence in their beautiful state. The international community has also given overwhelming support, because it sees in it yet another demonstration of India's sincere commitment to a peaceful and permanent solution to the Kashmir issue.
Rashtrapatiji had also then informed the honourable members that:
Militancy in Jammu and Kashmir is now increasingly confined to foreign mercenary groups. This has widened the scope for democratic activity in the state. The people of the state participated enthusiastically in the recent panchayat elections. I reiterate the government's readiness to have talk with every group in the state that abjures violence.
The government has decided to pursue this path by initiating talks with various groups in J&K. The government has seriously addressed the question of continuing with the peace process and further extending the period of non-initiation of combat operation by our security forces. In this regard, the government has benefited by the detailed briefing of and consultations with all political parties that it had on February 21, 2001.
Having examined all aspects of the question in its totality, the government has decided to further extend the period up till the end of May. Let this opportunity not be missed by all those that desire peace, for our patience is not infinite.
I wish to make it abundantly clear that the peace process is only for those that wish to benefit from it. We will not let this process be derailed or misused. For such organisations or elements, as have vowed to disrupt the peace process, or intend to continue with violence and the killing of innocents in J&K, my message is unequivocal and clear. If you inflict injury on any Indian citizen in the State of Jammu and Kashmir, or elsewhere, or commit any act of violence or terrorism then the security forces have clear instructions to act decisively and to defeat such intentions. Law and order shall be maintained. Those who think that our security forces are less determined today to put an end to terrorism are only deluding themselves.
It is my hope that Pakistan will act, even now, and abjure violence, give up their continuous hostile propaganda against India, stoop promoting and aiding cross-border terrorism, take the path of peace through bilateral talks as enshrined in the Simla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration, thus creating a conducive atmosphere so that the comprehensive dialogue process can be resumed resulting in a lasting solution to the problems.
The process of peace is to enable our citizens in Jammu and Kashmir to live peacefully. It is their voice that has to be heard, not of the militants or foreign mercenaries.
Peace is our objective, to peace and dialogue we remain committed because that, above all, is what the people of Jammu and Kashmir need most.
Source: United News of India