Srinagar: A four-member team of civil society representatives is on way to Kashmir after Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared that the solution of Kashmir lies in “embracing” the people rather than using bullets or abuses.
The team led by Dr MJ Khan is on a mission to “build bridges” with the estranged valley.
“PM Modi’s speech from the Red Fort has given our team fresh courage to find answers to the Kashmir imbroglio. But our efforts should not be seen in connection with the government or the BJP,” said Dr Khan.
Politician Shahid Siddiqui, Justice Ishrat Masroor Quddusi and West Asia expert Qamar Agha are part of the team.
The team is in touch with both PM Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh and other key stakeholders. The team has started its journey on Saturday and will possibly visit south Kashmir first.
“This is the beginning of our plans to bring normalcy in the Valley. The recent exposé of Hurriyat leaders has created a lot of anger among people in Kashmir, who are finding themselves duped by the separatist leaders. We consider it the right time to lend ears to the Kashmiris’ voice,” said a member of the team.
The team intends to meet Ulema (scholars of Islam) of Sufi tradition, civil society groups, businessmen and women groups to find out what they want to bring peace in Kashmir. Besides, it will also meet key officials in J&K government to resolve small but important issues.
“The idea is to build bridges between the common people and the government and other stakeholders, so that common Kashmiris can have a better life,” said the member.
“We have good contacts in south Kashmir, too, where people are fed up with the continuing militancy and are yearning for peace,” he said.
The team will be focusing on the field of education and is reportedly in touch with DPS and Amity besides the Ministry of Minority Affairs to open at least 20 schools in the Valley.
“The standard of government-run schools in Kashmir is very bad because of Jama’at’s influence. Instead of learning constructive things, the youth are being taught divisive politics that turns them into stone-pelters,” he said.
The member said they are in touch with Army chief Bipin Rawat, who has agreed to provide free medical treatment to children and common people injured in clashes and army action against militants.
The team is also trying to rope in the Azim Premji Trust to make wider outreach in the field of education and employment.