The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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All parties important: Vohra

Srinagar/Jammu, April 29: No single party can claim to be the sole representative of the people, Central interlocutor N.N. Vohra said today as he concluded his week-long visit to the Valley. He added that those who braved bullets to participate in the last Assembly elections were important in their own right.

On the day he made these remarks, security forces killed 11 militants at Bharath in Doda district in the second-most successful operation against them in the Jammu region in the past week. Six Rashtriya Rifles jawans were also killed in the encounter.

Speaking at a news conference, Vohra criticised the All Parties Hurriyat Conference for its refusal to meet him. “No single party can claim to be the sole representative of the people and therefore, all voices must be heard. Elected representatives in a democracy play an important role.”

Vohra said: “Those participating in the last Assembly elections faced the bullets as well as the ballot. Over 900 people, including 42 political workers, candidates and a minister died. Elected representatives are very important in a parliamentary democracy.”

Vohra added that in the coming days, he would “try to find an appropriate resolution to the APHC’s non-participation in the dialogue process. The process will not be complete unless we have heard from everyone. Having drawn a plan about how I must proceed with the task, I issued a press release inviting all concerned to come and talk to me. I do not believe that elected representatives are irrelevant.”

Vohra said that in the last seven days in the Valley, he met 30 organisations and 130 individuals, including those who participated in the last elections. He also met Hindu and Sikh representatives, trade union leaders, eminent citizens and editors.

“As the dialogue proceeds further, the Jammu and Kashmir people will be able to decide if they are being served by those who don’t participate in the process.

“The dialogue will discuss militancy, cross-border terrorism, disturbance of peace and harmony, the functioning of security forces and the consequences of their operations, the alienation resulting from the continuing disturbance in the state and unemployment.”

Elsewhere, Rashtriya Rifles jawans and state policemen trapped militants in and around Bharath nullah — a thickly-forested mountainous belt, about 20 km from the district headquarter of Doda — early today. Militants opened fire and a fierce gunbattle raged for over four hours.

Even though the guns have fallen silent, a massive combing operations is going on in the area. “We are leaving nothing to chance,” inspector-general of police P.L. Gupta said.

Forces killed 13 militants at Hill Kaka in Suranjkote in Poonch district last week. The army had used heavy weaponry to eliminate the militants hiding in the concrete bunkers.

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