Kashmir unrest: Mufti called All-party for meeting over Kashmir issue


Jammu: An all-party meeting which was held here on Thursday to deliberate on current unrest in the Valley called for engaging all stakeholders in Jammu and Kashmir in an effort to “carry forward the peace and reconciliation process” in the restive State. In the meeting, all parties present showed their concern over the use of pellets as a crowd control measure.

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After the eruption of violence in the Valley over the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, this was the first meeting in which top state leadership of almost all mainstream parties participated. Opposition National Conference, however, boycotted the meeting convened and chaired by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. At the end of the four-and-half-hour meeting, the participants also expressed concern over NC’s boycott.

Apart from Mehbooba, the meeting was attended by BJP state president Sat Sharma. Also present were leaders from Congress, Panthers Party, CPM, National Democratic Party, Lok Janshakti Party, Peoples’ Conference, Awami Ithead Party and Janta Dal (United). Mehbooba said her government was ready to act as a facilitator for resolving problems confronting the state if tangible steps were taken to reach out to all the stakeholders. “A new course for Jammu and Kashmir can be chalked out only by reaching out to all the stakeholders, including the youth who have to pay a huge price because of the uncertainties plaguing the state for the past more than six decades,” the chief minister said. She added that alternatives shall also have to be found to existing crowd control methods to ensure that the youth don’t get killed or maimed in such situations.

“I am especially pained by the grievous eye injuries caused to some youth because of the pellets guns,” she said. Mehbooba said that this method of crowd control will have to be done away with.
Education Minister and J&K government spokesman Nayeem Akhtar said the meeting passed a resolution “to convey its feelings to the people of the state and leadership at national level across party lines and the Government of India”. He said the “main emphasis of the discussion was how to prevent the recurrences” of such flare-ups.

Describing the contents of resolution, Akhtar said that the resolution expresses grief and concern at the loss of lives and injuries during the unrest. “The meeting called for restraint on all sides and also took note of empathy and sense of solidarity with the people of state which was reflected in the debate in both Houses of Parliament,’’ he said.

Akhtar added that those present called for a national initiative for addressing problems confronting the state of Jammu and Kashmir. “The meeting also called for an inclusive engagement of all stakeholders in J&K for carrying forward the peace and reconciliation process.” State Congress president Ghulam Ahmad Mir told The Indian Express that consensus emerged between the leaders of all the political parties that on the basis of the recommendation of Justice (retd) Saghir Working Group Report, the Government of India should constitute an all-party delegation from Centre to speak to all the stake holders in Kashmir, including separatists.

“Kashmir is a burning issue, it has been debated in Rajya Sabha and LoK Sabha, I think this time the Centre will take it seriously,’’ he said, adding that if recommendation in the resolution will be thrown in dustbin then situation could go from bad to worse. Independent MLA Engineer Rashid told The Indian Express that most participants sought complete ban on the use of pellet guns. “Unfortunately, the government didn’t give any concrete answer. It seems nothing is in their hands,” he said.

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