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Sunday, 3 November, 2002, 13:57 GMT
New leader promises Kashmir 'healing'
Mufti Mohammad Sayeed
Mr Sayeed said violence would not deter him
The new chief minister of Indian-administered Kashmir has pledged to push ahead with a planned package of reforms for the troubled region.

Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, sworn in as head of a coalition government on Saturday, said he wanted to bring the people of Kashmir to an unconditional dialogue with the central government in Delhi.


In my government everyone will be accountable - I will not compromise on accountability and corruption-free governance

Mufti Mohammad Sayeed

Hopes that his inauguration would mark a new phase in Kashmir politics were dampened by a series of attacks around the time of his swearing-in in Srinagar.

But on Sunday, Mr Sayeed said his cabinet had adopted what he called a road map and guiding principle for governance of the state.

Pledges

His programme includes releasing militants who have no serious charges against them as well as promising financial help for relatives of separatists killed by Indian forces.

A police officer stands guard outside Mr Sayeed's house
Mr Sayeed's own home was targeted in the inauguration day violence
On the day of the inauguration, at least 10 people, including a local leader of Mr Sayeed's coalition partner, were killed in different attacks across the state which included grenades being fired at the chief minister's house.

Indian security forces also shot dead 12 militants near the Line of Control which divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan.

"Such incidents will continue," Mr Sayeed said.

"But they will not change the programme of my government to provide a healing touch to the people and giving a new image to the security forces," he said.

'Wisdom, courage needed'

Mr Sayeed had been critical of Indian security forces and possible human rights abuses while he was in opposition and pledged that his administration would not become tainted.

"In my government everyone will be accountable - I will not compromise on accountability and corruption-free governance," he said.

Mr Sayeed, 66, added: "We have to proceed in completing this mission with patience, balance, courage and wisdom."

He will head a coalition of his People's Democratic Party and the Congress party for three years, before a Congress leader takes over for a second three-year period in Kashmir - which has been the trigger for two of three wars fought by India and Pakistan since 1947.

Around 30,000 people have also died in the last 12 years years of rebellion.

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