Church officials express hope after election in Jammu-Kashmir state

NEW DELHI (CNS) — The recent election for seats in the Jammu and Kashmir state legislative assembly has produced hoped-for results, said church leaders in India’s northernmost state. Bishop Peter Elampassery of Jammu-Srinagar told the Asian church news agency UCA News that he expects the new government to take the state forward “provided the separatist problem is tackled properly.” “We hope to have better peace in the state under the NC-led government,” Bishop Elampassery said Dec. 29, a day after the National Conference, known as NC, and the People’s Democratic Party won 28 and 21 seats, respectively. No party won a majority in the 87-member assembly, the lower house of the state government. The NC reportedly wants to seek an alliance with the national Congress party, which won 17 seats. The Congress party was a partner with the People’s Democratic Party in the incumbent Jammu and Kashmir government. Since 1989, the Indian part of Kashmir has witnessed armed conflict between separatists and Indian security forces that has killed at least 60,000 people. Both India and Pakistan claim the region, and each rules part of it.

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