Listen to voice of people, PM tells Kashmir politicians


New Delhi : Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday asked political parties in Jammu and Kashmir to activate their youth wings and connect with the people of the troubled state that has been battling a renewed unrest, killing over 50 people in the last two months.

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Making a fresh initiative to address the turmoil in the Kashmir Valley, Manmohan Singh focused more on the youth in his address to an all-party delegation from the state he hosted at his 7 Race Course Road residence here.

“The state government and the chief minister (Omar Abdullah) are making efforts to renew contact with the people. The central government is fully supportive of these efforts, which should be intensified,” he said.

“I believe that all of you have the solemn duty of reaching out to the people and reinvigorating peaceful political activity on the ground, which is lacking today,” the prime minister said, after observing a two-minute silence to mourn the deaths in the valley.

“The youth wings of your parties should be activated. In a democracy, leaders have to listen to the voice of the people and gain their trust and confidence,” Manmohan Singh told Kashmir’s politicians, breaking his long silence over the latest trouble in the valley.

He said people should be politically empowered to have their participation in the governance.

“I believe that local body elections should be held early to increase peoples’ participation in democratic governance and to ensure political empowerment at the grassroots level.

He said the future of the state “has to be grounded in political and economic realities of our time” and urged the politicians to “build a consensus on a practical and realizable vision of Jammu and Kashmir’s future”.