Citizens group says dialogue can end violence in JK

Concerned Citizens Group has called for a political outreach, including dialogue with the separatist leadership, to bring peace in Kashmir valley.

The group’s signatories, include BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, Justice (retd) A P Shah and former bureaucrat Wajahat Habibullah, among others and who are of the opinion that “The news of violence and student protests was disturbing. Peace cannot be achieved through violence. Whether it is the death of eight protesters on April 9 during the Srinagar bypoll or violence during student protests the situation in Kashmir is only deteriorating by the day.”

“The worst ever voter turn-out of a meagre 7 per cent in Srinagar bypoll is a warning of the extent of disillusionment prevailing in the Kashmiri voters mind. This process needs to be stemmed and corrective measures need to be taken,” the group maintained.

The group said that dialogue with those, who hold differing views is the only way forward to reconcile differences. “India’s Constitution can accommodate the aspirations of all its citizens, including the people of Jammu and Kashmir.”

They said that conditions were conducive to hold a dialogue that could restore peace in the state.

“For this, the Jammu and Kashmir government and the Centre need to show exemplary restraint in either deploying force or adopting innovative measures which can backfire in dealing with protesters. The protesters must also understand that the path they have chosen is counter-productive. Stone-pelting or intervening in anti-militancy operations of the security forces will make them easy targets of violence.”

“The Centre needs to carefully work out a strategy to reach out to the people of Kashmir. Such an outreach should include not only leaders of Kashmiri civil society, opinion makers, public intellectuals and other stakeholders in the state, but also the separatist leadership. This is part of the ‘agenda of alliance’ of BJP and PDP.”

“We urge the Central government, to urgently initiate a political dialogue to prevent violence in Kashmir and restore the faith of the Kashmiri people in democratic processes to resolve their grievances. A continued reliance on military measures alone to cannot sort out a problem which is entirely political,” the group maintained.



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