All-party team in Tangmarg on 2nd day of Kashmir visit

After visiting the violence-hit town, the all-party delegation will leave for Jammu.

Srinagar: Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, who is heading the all-party delegation now visiting Jammu and Kashmir, Tuesday visited the valley`s Tangmarg town where six people were killed Sep 13.

Chidambaram was accompanied by several from the 39-member delegation, which arrived in Srinagar Monday and leaves for Jammu Tuesday afternoon.

The all-party team, also including Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj of the Bharatiya Janata Party as well as Sitaram Yechury of the Communist Party of India-Marxist and Gurudas Dasgupta of the Communist Party of India, is attempting to get a sense of the ground situation in the valley before deciding on steps to be taken to defuse tensions.

Tangmarg saw widespread violence Sep 13, when protests, initially triggered by reports that the Quran had been desecrated in the US, broke out across Kashmir. Of the 18 killed in the valley, six were from the resort town of Tangmarg.

Tangmarg witnessed the worst violence as mobs torched a Christian missionary school, the office of the social welfare department and a police vehicle.

"Mobs in Tangmarg have virtually torched the entire public property in the town including the local treasury, the social welfare office, the office complex of the tehsildar including his official residence, office complex of the block development officer, a tourism department cafeteria and some other offices there," a police official said.

"Furious mobs refused to relent despite baton charges, tear smoke shelling and aerial firing following which the security forces had no option, but to use firearm," he said.


He alleged that New Delhi had neither a clear commitment nor a desire to effectively resolve the Kashmir issue as per the aspirations the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

Besides Chidambaram, the delegation included Parliamentary Affairs Minister PK Bansal (Congress) as well as Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Chidambaram said the team, which will visit Jammu Tuesday, had arrived here with an "open mind".

He said the main purpose of the team was to interact with people, listen to them and "carve out a path for taking Kashmir out of this present cycle of violence".

(With IANS inputs)