NEW DELHI: All-Party Delegation (APD), that visited Jammu and Kashmir, on Wednesday pitched for dialogue with all stakeholders and appealed to all in the State to shun violence.
Even as the Valley continued to remain tense, the Left parties insisted on repealing the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from civilian areas as a part of confidence building measures. The meeting, chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who led the delegation on September 4 and 5, made it clear that there would be no compromise on national sovereignty.
A joint statement released following a three-hour-long meeting asked the Central and state governments to take steps for a dialogue with all stakeholders in J&K. Asked whether separatists would also come under the purview of “stakeholders”, MoS in PMO Jitendra Singh remained evasive saying, the Home Minister has reiterated that he is open to discussions and all those who “have anything to offer and provide inputs. It means what it means.”
CPM leader Sitaram Yechury, who was part of the delegation, advocated for resumption of Indo-Pak dialogue as part of a “dual track” approach for bringing peace in the restive Valley. Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, when asked for his comments, said the separatist amalgamate is part of the “all stakeholders”.
Yechury said the government should follow up its Kashmir outreach initiative by taking concrete steps like former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who had declared a unilateral ceasefire and held talks with militant group Hizbul Mujahideen. Expressing serious concern over the prevailing situation in the State, the APD statement said the members of the delegation were of the view that there is no place for violence in a civilised society.
The meeting asked both the governments to take steps to ensure that education institutions, government offices and commercial establishment start functioning normally at the earliest. They requested the government to take steps to ensure security for all citizens and provide medical treatment to injured civilians and security personnel.
Meanwhile, BJP general secretary Ram Madhav on Wednesday rejected demands for a political solution to the Kashmir issue, suggesting that it was a mere slogan raised by “romantic” people. He said that those who do not believe in the Indian constitution will be dealt with firmly.
The saffron party’s pointsman on J&K claimed people who are demanding so are not interested in finding a solution to the ongoing unrest in the Valley and “enjoy fuelling violence and getting innocents killed”.
Speaking at event on ‘homeland security’, he said there is no alternative to talks. “Even if the doors are not open, still you have to go. You need two people for talks. We need a particular strategic culture to be nurtured in this country,” he said.