Manmohan-led Congress team arrives on “Mission Kashmir”

A Congress spokesman said that the group was scheduled to meet various delegations from Kashmir, including opposition parties.

Published: 16th September 2017 06:26 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th September 2017 07:50 PM   |  A+A-

Congress executive committee meeting in Srinagar | PTI

Express News Service

SRINAGAR: A delegation of Congress policy and planning group headed by former Prime Minister Dr Mamohan Singh on Saturday arrived on two-day visit to Kashmir to look into ways for finding a peaceful solution to the present impasse in the Valley.

Singh accompanied by former J&K Chief Minister and Leader of Opposition (LoP) in Rajya Sabha  Ghulam Nabi Azad and Congress General Secretary Ambika Soni arrived here this morning to interact with "like-minded" people here.

After landing in Srinagar, the delegation visited Hari Niwas guest house in high security Gupkar Road, here to hold interactions with State party leaders including J&K Pradesh Congress committee functionaries, legislators, former ministers and former legislators.

The J&K Congress leaders apprised the delegation about the prevailing political and ground situation in the Valley.

“The delegation was told that due to failures of the Centre and State governments in handling the situation, the situation has deteriorated and the overall security situation and the political atmosphere has been vitiated,” a Congress spokesman said.

He said the State leaders told the delegation that mainstream forces are feeling marginalized and suffocated due to policies of centre and state government.

Earlier, after reached Hari Niwas,  Azad told reporters that no meeting has been fixed between the delegation and Hurriyat.

“I have seen the list of 45 delegations whom we will be meeting here, but I did not find mention of Hurriyat in the list,” he said when asked whether the team would meet separatist leaders also.

Stating said Modi’s 90% win in 2014 parliamentary election was because of Kashmir, Azad said, “During the Lok Sabha elections, he exploited sentiments of people by pitching militancy in the state against rest of the country.”

Slamming PM Modi's government for growing incidents of violence in the state, Azad said, “When a soldier was beheaded during the UPA government in J&K, the BJP exploited the issue to the hilt against the Congress. However, during their rule many such incidents have taken place but they have remained silent”.

The Congress leader alleged that PM Modi has brought J&K close to destruction.

“The Congress government had made south Kashmir militancy-free but the region has been on boil ever since PDP-BJP coalition government came into power. No one is visiting Kashmir, the  ceasefire violations have increased and many soldiers and civilians have been killed”.

On talks with separatists, he said Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has been speaking of a dialogue with all stakeholders to solve the Kashmir problem.

“It is for Mehbooba and Modi to decide who are the stakeholders,” he said adding, “They are shying  away from naming stakeholders and how can they run the government”.

Asked what was Congress stand on Article 35-A, which grants special privileges to J&K residents, Azad said, “We know our stand and we have not come here only for Article 35-A but receive feedback from people on different issues”

The delegation led by ex-PM is likely to meet about 40 delegations including representatives of political parties, traders, civil society members, Sikh groups, Kashmiri Pandit group, youth women and Panchayat members during its two-day stay in Srinagar.

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