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Deputy chief minister Dr Nirmal Singh on Wednesday said that the decision to release political prisoners will be taken after the recommendations of government of India’s special representative Dineshwar Sharma.

He also said that Panchayat polls have been deferred because of winter and the forthcoming budget session.

“Step by step, things are being done. Release of political prisoners will be only possible once there is recommendation from interlocutor Dineshwar Shrama,” Singh told reporters on the sidelines of a function.

“He is meeting people and making recommendations,” Singh said.

He said that Home Minister Rajnath Singh has urged the J&K government not to keep teenagers in prisons. “On his directions only all teenagers are being shifted to juvenile homes,” he said.

Singh said that BJP favoured withdrawal of cases against stone throwers who are not involved in heinous crimes.

“BJP will support all steps which are taken for peace-loving people of J&K,” he said and appealed to the people to support BJP-PDP government for restoration and peace in J&K.

Asked about reports suggesting Sharma’s meeting with a senior separatist leader, Singh said that “peace loving people are meeting him”.

“Peace only can help in development of J&K,” he said and added that the central government will be providing “a lot funds for the development of J&K”.

Singh said that Panchayat elections have been deferred because of winter and the budget session. 

“In winter, people of far flung areas can’t exercise their franchise,” he said and stated that the polls will be held at any cost.

He reiterated that bullets will be responded with bullets.

“We feel happy that youth who were wielding gun are coming back into the mainstream. Those who persist with the gun will be fought back. Army and police are fighting and sacrificing their lives,” he said.

Meanwhile, Singh on Wednesday called for greater synergy among law enforcing agencies to “thwart any possible security situation” in the state.

Speaking at a meeting convened to discuss the security scenario in Kashmir, the deputy chief minister lauded the role of security agencies in maintaining peace and tranquility in the region, an official spokesman said.

Singh directed the officers to be extra vigilant to prevent any untoward incident, he said.

“The police have been on the forefront of maintenance of peaceful environs and other people-friendly initiatives,” Singh said.

The meeting, among others, was attended by inspector general of police, Kashmir range, Muneer Ahmad Khan; divisional commissioner, Kashmir, Baseer Ahmad Khan, SSP Security and other officers.