Srinagar: Amid signs of divisions within the all-party delegation over reaching out to the separatists, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Tuesday welcomed the move and said that reaching out to all stakeholders in Kashmir will help in improving the situation in the valley.
Speaking to a news channel, Omar said, “The fact that delegation has come here is important but more important is that they have reached out to various sections. It is only a first step, I am hoping that something substantial will come out.”
On suggestions that the decision to reach out to separatists was not a collective one – Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Shushma Swaraj, who is part of the team, said today that they were not consulted on the issue – Omar argued that the fact of the matter is that they (members of the all-party team) met the separatists, while adding that the meeting will ‘help the situation in the valley’.
He also made it clear that meeting the separatists – Syed Ali Shah Gilani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik – was part of the plan and that he and his party were in touch with the Union Home Minister led all-party delegation at every stage.
With regards to his demand for a review of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), Omar refused to get into a controversy but kept steady on his demand.
“I am not asking it for myself…It is for the government of India to decide. Let’s see what happens,” he said.
Omar along with the team was in Tangmarg early today, where large scale violence was witnessed over the rumours regarding the desecration of the Quran in the US, before heading to Jammu to meet various sections of the society there.