Advani meets Manmohan Singh, discusses Kashmir violence

     Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Lal Krishna Advani met the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, along with a delegation of party MLAs from Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday to discuss the current volatile situation in the Valley. The delegation expressed disappointment over the proposed political package for Jammu and Kashmir, which was discussed between the Central Government and State Chief Minister Omar Abdullah. They demanded that the Centre should intervene to bring normalcy in the Kashmir Valley and emphasised the need for keeping up the morale of the security forces, including the paramilitary. The delegation included Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj, and Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley. Dr Manmohan Singh promised to look into their demands and suggestions. Earlier on August 2, Omar Abdullah met Dr Manmohan Singh and discussed issues including the need for additional forces and initiation of 'internal and external' dialogue with the people concerned. After his meeting with Dr Manmohan Singh and Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, Omar Abdullah said the State has to have a semblance of normalcy restored before political initiatives can begin. "We need to break the cycle of violence. For any initiative to work, there has to be peace first. The curfew must be adhered to in all circumstances. The problem is inherently political. Political initiative has to include amending armed forces act," he added. He further said that Jammu and Kashmir needed a political solution, rather than an economic package. Referring to the protests that have led to clashes with security forces, he said: "Efforts were made not to resort to force. Our government doesn't want to resort to the use of force but when people come out to take law in their own hands, there are consequences." Abdullah appealed to people to stop 'lawlessness' and to allow the government to take steps to restore normalcy. "Curfew where announced will have to be implemented strictly. There will be no other way around this," he added. Mass protests in the Kashmir Valley resumed over the weekend. In the past six days, more than 28 people have been killed in clashes between security forces and protesters, taking the death toll over the past eight weeks to 45.

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