NEW DELHE: The Government is likely to begin the dialogue on the Punjab problem with political parties of the state next week.

Official sources indicated on Friday that the talks would be held with political parties on a one-to-one basis after the External Affairs, Minister, Mr. P.V Narasimha Rao, who is out of the country, returns to the Capital on March 14. Mr. Rao heads the Cabinet subcommittee which held several meetings to work out a package of measures to begin the process of normalization in the state.

While announcing the package in Parliament last week the Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had indicated that the Government would soon be holding talks with opposition parties to elicit their views in the matter.

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement the government has withdrawn cases relating to the charge of “waging war against the state” in respect of all the 188 persons who were lodged in the Jodhpur jail. While 104 have been released unconditionally, official sources said the cases against the rest were being reviewed at different stages. Most of those charged with offenses like murder, dacoity and robberies have been referred to police authorities in the concerned areas.

These sources said it would take a few days to move the courts in respect of those who face charges like murder dacoity and bank robbery.

The Government is also in the process of identifying those areas in Punjab to which it would limit the implication of laws like the Special Armed Forces Act and the Disturbed Areas Act.

Article extracted from this publication >>  March 24, 1989