Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah Wednesday again urged separatists to join the dialogue process for lasting peace in the state.
Addressing the main Independence Day parade at Bakshi Stadium here, Abdullah asked the separatists to abjure violence for the state’s overall development.
The chief minister said neither violence nor development would resolve the Kashmir problem, which needed a political resolution.
The official functions connected with the 66th Independence Day of the country passed off peacefully in summer capital Srinagar and elsewhere in the Kashmir Valley.
The chief minister took salute at the parade in which smartly turned out contingents of state police, paramilitary forces, fire and emergency services and school children participated.
Abdullah unfurled the national flag at the stadium.
Referring to his stand on the revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), Abdullah said: “To a large extend the militancy related incidents have come down over the years.
“It is our endeavour to reduce the footprints of the security forces in the state. I can with pride that all schools have been vacated by the security forces.”
He added that 250 “other buildings under the occupation of the security forces have also been vacated”.
“More than 40 bunkers have been removed from Srinagar city. Perhaps nobody hoped we could remove the bunker from Lal Chowk. Ten battalions of the CRPF have already been de-inducted and sent back.
“We are slowly implementing the rehabilitation for those who want to return back without guns and the policy is producing encouraging results. This policy is only for those who return not to join militancy, but live peacefully.
“Talks on AFSPA are going on. I regret so far we have not reached a stage when AFSPA can be removed permanently. Talks are still going on and I am satisfied we these talks.
“I can say with surety that the revocation of AFSPA would take place during our tenure in office.”
Official parades and cultural programmes were also held at various districts in the valley to mark the Independence Day.
Separatists called for a valley wide shutdown Wednesday.
Few public and private vehicles plied on the city’s roads Wednesday morning.