Srinagar: Senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha has termed the recent statement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Kashmir as a positive step towards dialogue.
“We presented a report to the Union government in which we said that dialogue was the only way forward to solve Kashmir,” Sinha, who arrived in Srinagar as part of a Concerned Citizens Group on Wednesday, told Kashmir Reader.
Asked whether the Modi-led government has implemented some suggestions from the report, Sinha said, “The recent statement of Prime Minister Modi was a step in that direction. It was a very good statement.”
In his address from the Red Fort on India’s Independence Day, Prime Minister Modi had said that the problem of Kashmir will be resolved not by bullets or abuses but by embracing the Kashmiri people.
In January this year, The Indian Express reported that the Sinha-led citizens group that visited the Valley twice after the killing of Burhan Wani, issued a report in which it recommended “multi-dimensional dialogue” that included talks with the Hurriyat. The report said that the talks should be “initiated at the earliest” and it asked the government to improve the human rights situation and allow Kashmiris to assemble to hold discussions.
Sinha said that the Concerned Citizens Group continues to advocate dialogue to address the Kashmir dispute within the ambit of Agenda of Alliance (AoA).
“The AoA talks about opening talks with internal actors as well as external actors across the Line of Control,” he said. “We want dialogue as has been described in the AoA.”
Sinha said the group will start the third leg of its tour from Thursday to meet the people of Kashmir.
“During our meetings we will continue with our efforts of dialogue and peace,” he said.
Apart from Sinha, the visiting group comprises Retd Air Vice Marshal Kapil Kak, Editor of Catch News Bharat Bhushan, and Sushobha Barve, head of Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation.
“I have come alone. The rest of the members will come on Thursday,” Sinha said, adding it will be a two-day visit by the group.
The group’s visit has been facilitated by the Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation, a Delhi-based group that has been working in Kashmir for more than a decade.
During their earlier tours which started last October, member of the group had met Hurriyat leaders and also leaders from pro-Indian political parties and civil society members.