`Kashmiris’ future secure with India`

Chidambaram`s promise came as the visiting all-party delegation began consultations in Kashmir.

Srinagar: On a mission to understand the
ground situation in Jammu and Kashmir, the all-party
delegation on Monday began its two-day exercise with Home Minister
P Chidambaram promising the people of the state that their
future, honour and dignity are secure as part of India.

Main opposition PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti and separatist
leaders, including Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq
and Yasin Malik, decided not to meet the delegation.

While a 15-strong PDP delegation met the all-party
delegation leaders and explained the party`s stand, some of the
separatists factions instead sent a memorandum to the team.

Flanked by leaders of different political parties and
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, Chidambaram said the delegation
would like to hear the grievances of the people.

"We hope and believe that the honour, dignity and future
(of Kashmiris) are secure as part of India," he said.

Chidambaram said the delegation has a tight schedule and
asked the parties appearing before them to make their
presentation effectively.

The 42-member team, which arrived here on a crucial
two-day visit to assess the ground situation, was received by
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, as curfew remained clamped in
the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir. The death toll during
violence and clashes in the last three months is now at 103.

Asked whether her decision not to meet the delegation
was a symbolic protest, Mehbooba said she did not believe in
symbolism but was sending a strong delegation to put forth her
party`s point of view.

She said her views were well known as she had attended
the all party meeting in Delhi last week and that her party`s
senior leaders should have a chance to make their

Mehbooba also accused the ruling NC of trying to hijack
the all party delegation.

Moderate Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq
and JKLF are skipping meeting the team but will submit a
memorandum to it, JKLF chief Yasin Malik said.

"It is a creative memorandum. Hope it is taken in the
right spirit and that the delegation understands the pulse of
the people," Malik said.

Some members of the delegation are likely to call on
hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani at his Hyderpora
residence here.

Though Geelani has officially refused to meet them, he
said the delegation members will not be turned away if they
decide to call on him at his house as they were guests.