26 Sep 2010

India moves to ease crisis in Kashmir

7:16 am on 26 September 2010

India's government says it will consider scaling back security forces in the Kashmir region, as it aims to calm months of protests.

More than 100 civilians have been killed since June in protests against Indian rule, and Kashmir has been in a siege-like state with shops, offices and schools closed.

Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said schools and universities would re-open immediately and students who had been detained for throwing stones would be released.

The minister said the state government will look at the options for scaling down the number of bunkers and check points in Srinagar, Kashmir's summer capital, and other towns.

He added that the federal government would appoint a group to begin what he described as a sustained dialogue with Kashmiris, including political parties.

Saturday's announcement came after a delegation of Indian lawmakers visited the region this week and met some separatist leaders, although others refused to meet them.