Unlike the BJP, the Congress has no stated policy on Kashmir; time to have a permanent one: team-member Tariq Karra
Srinagar: A nine-member Kashmir Policy Group of the Congress party, headed by former prime minister Manmohan Singh, will be arriving in Jammu on Sunday and in Kashmir on September 16 to formulate a “Kashmir policy” that can address the political issues plaguing the state on a “permanent basis”.
Members of the team led by Singh will arrive in Jammu on September 10 and 11 and they will come to Kashmir on September 16 and 17.
Tariq Hameed Karra, who played an instrumental role in forming the Congress’s Kashmir Policy Group, termed the visit as “high profile” and said its sole aim is to address the Kashmir issue on a “permanent basis”.
“I have talked in detail about issues related to Kashmir with the Congress high command. They have agreed to form the Kashmir Policy Group. They are visiting the state in that regard,” Karra said.
He said that the Congress wants to end the helplessness of Kashmiris by listening to them and working towards alleviating their sufferings.
“We want to hold the hand of Kashmiris. We want to bring Kashmir out of the quagmire created by the communal fascists,” he said.
Karra, an erstwhile leader of the Peoples Democratic Party, said that forming the Kashmir Policy Group was necessary to counter the BJP’s stated policy on Kashmir and on the majority population of Kashmir.
“Their plan is to ingress into the religious, administrative, and constitutional spaces to implement their communal policies,” he said.
“On the other hand, the Congress had no stated policy on Kashmir. It had a vacillating position on issues. This will end now. We will have a permanent policy on Kashmir now. The visit of this group is a step in that direction,” he said.
Karra said he has pitched for a two-tier policy on Kashmir that will span both the central and state level.
“This policy will be implemented separately if the Congress party comes to power in the centre or in the state. There is enough space to address the Kashmir problem within the framework of the Indian Constitution,” he said.
“The Kashmir Policy Group led by Manmohan Singh is a step to frame a Kashmir policy on permanent basis. If you want to form such a policy, you need to listen to the sentiments of the people of the state, including of those in Jammu and Ladakh. The group will listen to all people,” he said.
Senior Vice President of the state Congress, GN Monga, said that the Singh-led group will be stationed in Srinagar.
“He will have a busy schedule. The purpose of his visit will be Kashmir affairs. He will talk to different stakeholders in Kashmir and will listen to their problems and grievances, both political and economic,” Monga said.
He said that the Congress will not invite any delegation or groups for talks with the Singh-led delegation. “Whosoever wants to talk to Manmohan Singh ji and others, they can come and present their political or economical problems. He will listen to everybody,” Monga said.
The Kashmir Policy Group comprises of nine Congress members. Apart from Manmohan Singh, it includes Dr Karan Singh, P Chidambaram, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ambika Soni, Ghulam Ahmad Mir, Nawang Rigzin Jora, Tariq Hameed Karra, and Shyam Lal Sharma.