SRINAGAR: Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday agreed to only two suggestions put forth by opposition parties in the all-party meeting convened at SKICC to discuss the prevailing situation in Kashmir. One was that she will push for a ceasefire between militants and government forces during the month of Ramazan, which is just days away, and two, that an all-party delegation will be sent to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“All parties put forth dozens of suggestion to bring peace to the Valley, but Mehbooba ji just picked two,” sources privy to the meeting told Kashmir Reader. “On the suggested ceasefire, she did not say that it will happen but only that she will ask for it.”
According to the government’s press release, Mehbooba asked everyone in the meeting to rise above party politics and play a role in giving youth of the state a safe and secure future. “This is the concern of all of us because in peace lie the stakes of every section of society for which we all should strive jointly”, she said in her address.
The press release said that Mehbooba underscored the need for apprising the national leadership and the people of India of the urgent need to reach out to the people of Kashmir. She suggested constitution of an All Party Delegation to meet the Prime Minister and apprise the national leadership of the pain and sufferings of the people.
Sources said the meeting, which began at 2pm and ended at 6pm, was attended by leaders of the National Conference (NC), Congress, BJP, CPI (M), Peoples Conference, PDF, and Er Rasheed.
“Mehbooba ji began by saying that the state government is doing all what it could. Suggestions from opposition parties were sought on what more could be done. She was all praise for Narendra Modi, who she said was the tallest leader in the country and had the capacity to resolve the issues in Kashmir,” the sources said.
“She also said that the situation in the Valley is not too grave,” they added. “NC and Congress were angry at the government. They spoke against the way the government has been handling the situation.”
National Conference general secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar told Kashmir Reader that his party demanded an end to Operation All-Out against militants, the release of political prisoners, initiation of talks with the resistance camp, and extension of the assembly session that is being held on Thursday for the election of Speaker – to three days instead of one.
CPI (M) state general secretary Muhammad Yousuf Tarigami told Kashmir Reader that he asked the state government to initiate talks with militants, stone-throwers, and their families to understand them. He said that youths picking up the gun or throwing stones at government forces was not a picnic or adventure for them, but done with the aim to resolve issues on the ground.
“I also asked for constitution of a ministerial committee that will talk to separatists, academicians, traders and journalists to come up with suggestions for confidence-building measures,” Targami said. “I told them that the crisis has gone beyond limit and any delay would be disastrous for the state as well as for India. I also said that the GoI should take a lesson from North and South Korea, who have been hostile to each other for years but have now started a dialogue to resolve issues. I said that GoI should likewise talk to Pakistan and find a solution.”
Er Rasheed said that he suggested the right to self-determination as the only solution to the Kashmir dispute. He said he asked all parties to tell New Delhi that they will not contest any elections till New Delhi shows sincerity and offers acceptable conditions for dialogue with all stakeholders in the Kashmir dispute.
“Is not releasing political prisoners under the domain of the CM? Is not holding talks with youth under her domain? Is not constituting a ministerial committee under her domain? Is not extending the assembly session within her powers? If yes, then why does she not do that? Why is she pushing for only issue, which is in the hands of GoI?” a leader of one of the main opposition parties asked.