After being consigned to files for 9 years, govt to review reports of these groups ahead of Rajnath Singh’s visit on September 4
Srinagar: On Monday, several files gathering dust in partially deserted civil secretariat in Srinagar were suddenly in demand.
Chief secretary Bhir Ram Sharma asked top officials to fetch the files of the erstwhile Working Groups that were set up during the PDP-Congress rule led by Ghulam Nabi Azad as government of India’s initiative to “resolve the internal dimension” of Kashmir dispute.
The files were brought out for a reveiw ahead of the proposed visit to Kashmir by an all-party delegation headed by home minister Rajnath Singh, which is being projected as an initiative aimed at addressing the situation that has arisen due to the raging anti-India uprising triggered by the killing of popular Hizb commander Burhan Wani.
The Indian government had constituted five working groups during the reign of Ghulam Nabi Azad in 2006. The groups were headed by eminent persons including Hamid Ansari (currently Vice President of India), S Rangarajan (former RBI Governor) and late Justice Saghir Ahmad.
The groups were constituted following two roundtable conferences convened by the then Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq had skipped the roundtables, which became their first attempt to slip away from the dialogue they had entered into during the NDA regime in 2003.
The Working Groups were formed as continuation of confidence building measures across the segments of society in the state, ensuring good governance, strengthening relations across the Line of Control, economic reforms and strengthening the ‘centre-state relations’.
Sources said that four of the five working group recommendations would be reviewed and discussed with the all-party delegation led by home minister Rajnath Singh who would be on his fourth Kashmir visit in two months.
The government has decided to skip the recommendations of the group that was headed by Justice Saghir to review the relationship between New Delhi and J&K.
The meeting of topmost bureaucrats on Tuesday would be chaired by the chief secretary. It would also go through the report of the three interlocutors—academic Prof Radha Kumar, journalist Dilip Padgaonkar and former civil servant MM Ansari—who had been deputed by the government of India in the aftermath of the 2010 uprising.
The report was consigned to records in New Delhi after it was submitted to the Indian home minister. No pro-freedom group entertained the interlocutors and their report was considered one-sided.
Sources said the state government would formally recommend implementation of the working groups’ recommendations in a bid to calm the defiant street.
“The meeting would study all the recommendations of the working groups and prepare a power point presentation,” sources said. Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has off late begun to refer to these recommendations like her late father Mufti Muhammad Sayeed.
“The recommendations comprehensively deal with almost all the aspects of the problems including Centre-State relations, strengthening relations across LoC, Confidence Building Measures etc,” she said in a recent speech.
Four working groups had submitted their reports in April, 2007, while the controversial fifth group led by Justice Saghir submitted it in 2009.
The working groups had recommended repeal of draconian laws like the Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA)and Disturbed Areas Act besides strengthening people-to-people contact. ends