Manmohan Singh-led Congress team unlikely to meet separatists during Jammu and Kashmir visit

A high powered Congress team led by senior party leader and former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh will visit Jammu and Kashmir in September to review the State’s political situation.

Published: 30th August 2017 09:52 PM  |   Last Updated: 30th August 2017 09:56 PM   |  A+A-

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (File | PTI)

Express News Service

SRINAGAR: A high powered Congress team led by senior party leader and former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh will visit Jammu and Kashmir in September to review the State’s political situation and hold a discussion with party leaders and “like minded” groups.

However, the panel is unlikely to meet the Kashmiri separatist leaders.

Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) chief G A Mir told New Indian Express that  Singh, who heads Congress’s policy planning group on Kashmir, would lead a team of party leaders to Jammu and Kashmir next month for discussion on the prevailing situation in the state.

He said Singh accompanied by former Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Leader of Opposition (LoP) in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad and Congress general secretary Ambika Soni would visit Jammu, the winter capital of State, on September 10.

“The team will stay in Jammu for two days”.

The team-led by ex-PM would arrive in Srinagar on a two-day visit on September 16.

He said during the visit to Srinagar, the team-led by Singh would meet Congress leaders, legislators, and party workers.

The aim of Congress’s policy planning group’s visit to Kashmir was to reach out to people of Jammu and Kashmir, he said.

According to Mir, the delegation would also meet the opposition leaders including those of National Conference.

“Besides, it would meet independent legislator Hakim Mohammad Yasin, CPI (M) State Secretary and MLA Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami and former minister Ghulam Hassan Mir”.

He said everybody including Chamber of Commerce, Bar Association, civil society members is welcome to interact with the delegation led by Singh.  

“Everybody is welcome to put forth his/her views before the team. Everybody intending to meet the delegation is welcome”.

Asked whether they would be sending an invitation to traders, Bar Association, and others, Mir said, “Senior Congress leaders would be meeting tomorrow to decide how to reach out and whom to invite for talks”.

In response to a question whether the Singh-led team would also be meeting separatist leaders during its two-day stay in Srinagar, he said, “There is no mention of it”.

The delegation is not going to visit anybody at their residence.

“Anybody interested in meeting the delegation would have to meet them instead of the delegation members traveling to meet him”.

He said Congress is the country’s oldest party, which has done many positive things for J&K during last 10 years.

“We had brought development to the State and in last three years of PDP-BJP rule, there has been a reversal gear. We have to know what caused this reversal and every citizen of the State can put forth his/her views before the Congress's policy planning group on Kashmir,” he said.

Asked whether the Congress delegation would also meet Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, PDP or BJP leader, Mir said it would be decided in the meeting tomorrow.

Another State Congress leader said the delegation led by Manmohan has no mandate to meet the separatist leaders. 

The delegation won’t visit the residences of senior separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik to meet them, he said.

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