New Delhi: The all party meeting on Jammu and Kashmir ended without there being any consensus on the critical issue of diluting the powers of armed forces, though it has been decided that an all party delegation will visit the state to take stock of the situation.
The five-and-a-half hour meeting, during which Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, BJP
leader L K Advani and leaders of other parties presented their
views, however, was unanimous over the need for internal
dialogue within the framework of Indian Constitution.
There was sharp division on AFSPA, whose revocation was
demanded by PDP and NC but opposed by BJP and some other
A statement issued at the end of the marathon meeting
said the leaders agreed that the Indian Constitution provides
ample scope to "accommodate any legitimate political demand
through dialogue, civil discourse and peaceful negotiations."
Accordingly, it was decided that all-party delegation
would be sent to Jammu and Kashmir, dates for which were
not announced immediately.
"The leaders agreed that the delegation should meet all
sections of the people and gather all shades of opinion. The
visit of the all-party delegation would be facilitated by the
Ministry of Home Affairs and the Government of Jammu and
Kashmir," the statement said.
"The Government will take into account the deliberations
at today`s meeting while considering measures and initiatives
to reach out to the people of Jammu and Kashmir," it said,
adding the feedback received from the all-party delegation
would form an important input into the Government`s evolving
response on various issues relating to the state.
National Conference, the party in power in J&K, patron Farooq Abdullah told reporters after the meeting that he was satisfied with the outcome.
“An all party delegation will visit the state. It will be led by the Home Ministry. I am satisfied by the meeting,” he said.
He also claimed that the role of his son Chief Minister Omar Abdullah was appreciated for his initiatives in the meeting.
State’s opposition party PDP however demanded action to meet the intentions of the Centre. “Words will not do. We want the youth to be released from jails. We need to look at the problem from a humanistic angle,” party chief Mehbooba Mufti told reporters after the meeting.
The demand of the parties from the state was supported by
the Left parties and LJP.
However, parties like BJP, Shiv Sena, Samajwadi Party and
RJD opposed any such move, saying nothing should be done to
demoralise the forces.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh appealed to Kashmiris to give up violence, saying dialogue was the only way out of the current crisis in the Valley at the start of the meeting.
“I appeal to people of Kashmir to renounce violence,” the PM said as the all-party meet, called to discuss the ongoing unrest in Kashmir, got underway at his residence in New Delhi.
“The only path for lasting peace and prosperity in Jammu and Kashmir is that of dialogue and discussion,” the PM said while addressing the meet.
UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi too made an appeal to end violence in the state, asking the Kashmiris to “give peace a chance”.
Sonia stressed on the need to address the aspirations of the Kashmiri youth, saying they need to be engaged and won over.
Making the intentions of his government clear, the PM said, “We are ready for dialogue with anybody or any group that does not espouse or practice violence.”
He however added that “discussions can take place in an atmosphere free from violence and confrontation”.
Indirectly indicting separatist groups active in Kashmir, Dr Singh said it would be difficult to deny that certain groups had orchestrated some of the recent incidents of violence in the Valley.
The PM said he was shocked and distressed at seeing the youth and children protesting on the streets of Kashmir.
Others present at the crucial meeting are CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat, CPI’s D Raja and Gurudas Gupta, JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav, RJD leader Lalu Prasad, SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, JD(S)’s HD Deve Gowda, LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan and DMK’s TR Baalu.