State Govts ask extremists to shun violence, come for talks



Defying calls for boycott of the R-Day functions, people joined flag hoisting ceremonies and parades in the state capitals in the North East and those in naxal-hit areas amid a tight security cover.

In his address to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said the gun culture of the last 20 years had only resulted in bloodshed and destruction and asked militants to shun violence and come to the dialogue table to resolve issues amicably. Hoping that a better sense will prevail and militants will drop guns forever, he said, "This will be in their larger interest and the interest of the people".

"We will act as a facilitator in the dialogue process between all groups of opinion in the state and the Centre, besides working for restoration of Indo-Pak composite talks", he said. In Guwahati, Assam Governor J B Patnaik appealed to insurgent groups in the state to give up violence and join the dialogue process for a settlement of their problems.

"Militant groups should come to the conference table if they truly love Assam and want it to prosper with its vast natural resources," he said unfurling the tricolour amidst tight security in view of the boycott call by ULFA.

Jharkhand Governor M O H Farooq said in Ranchi that the solution to the Maoist menace lay in providing responsive administration, implementation of welfare schemes and bringing the alienated youth back to the mainstream.

Hoisting the national flag at Dumka, Jharkhand Chief Minister Shibu Soren said the Maoist menace is a stumbling block in the state's development. "Shun the path of violence and join the mainstream," he said in an appeal to the naxals.

"Our endeavour is to provide a fearless and prosperous Jharkhand," he said, adding the government is identifying and listing all vacancies so that it could give one lakh jobs as promised after he took over the reins last month.

In the border state of Arunachal, Governor Gen (retd) J J Singh said the defence ministry has started taking over the possession of eight Advanced Landing Grounds (ALGs), lying unused for long, in the state. Kerala Governor R S Gavai expressed concern over terror-linked activities in the state and cautioned that development works would be affected if such activities were not checked.

Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said Kerala Government would take stern and concerted measures to check the growth of terrorist activities in the state. In the wake of attacks on two churches in the BJP-ruled Karnataka, Governor H R Bhardwaj said it was the constitutional duty of every government to deal with heavy hand forces disturbing communal peace and harmony.

"I have no doubt that the concerned law enforcing agencies will act with promptitude against the offenders", he said in his Republic Day address, referring to yesterday's attacks on churches near Mysore and Bhatkal.

Reports of peaceful R-Day celebrations came in from across the country including Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and West Bengal.

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