In a bid to reach out to people of Kashmir, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday expressed his “deep concern and pain” over the situation there and asked all political parties to work together to find a “permanent and lasting” solution to problems in Jammu and Kashmir.
Making an appeal for restoration of normalcy in the Valley where the unrest entered the 45th day, Modi emphasised that there has to be a dialogue.
An official statement issued after his 75-minute-long meeting with a joint opposition delegation led by former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said the prime minister appreciated the “constructive suggestions” made by them during the talks and reiterated his government’s commitment to the welfare of people.
The 20-member delegation comprising Omar and seven of his National Conference MLAs, Congress legislators led G A Mir and Communist Party of India-Marxist MLA M Y Tarigami had called on the prime minister on Monday morning and made an appeal for a political approach for resolving the crisis in the Valley and to ensure that the “mistakes” of the past are not repeated.
Immediately after the statement was released , Omar tweeted, “we welcome the statement of the Hon PM @narendramodi ji and look forward to working together to find a lasting solution to problems of J&K.”
The 46-year-old working president of National Conference Omar told reporters after the meeting that they requested the prime minister for finding a political solution to the Kashmir issue so that a lasting peace is ensured in the state as well as in the country.
The PM emphasised on the need for dialogue to find a “permanent and lasting solution” within the framework of the Constitution and also asked all political parties to work together to find a solution to the problems in Jammu and Kashmir.
Expressing his “deep concern and pain” at the prevailing situation, the prime minister said “those who lost their lives during recent disturbances are part of us, our nation; whether the lives lost are of our youth, security personnel or police, it distresses us.”
“Government and the nation stand with the state of Jammu and Kashmir,” the prime minister said, and suggested that all political parties should reach out to the people and convey the same.
He expressed his commitment to the development of the state and its people, and appealed for restoration of normalcy in the state.
Kashmir has been witnessing unrest since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani on July 8 and so far over 60 people have been killed.
Omar told reporters the PM agreed with the delegation that development alone is not an answer to the crisis.
“The PM told us in categorical terms that development alone will not resolve this problem,” he said and refused to draw any conclusion from that.
“I am not going to put words into the PM’s mouth nor am I going to draw further meaning from what he said,” Omar said.
“We talked about the same thing that we have been talking with other leaders ever since we arrived in Delhi that the issue of Jammu and Kashmir, especially in light of the present crisis, needs to be understood correctly after which a solution is required.
“We emphasised that the issue of Jammu and Kashmir is more of political in nature. Time and again such situations do arise but if we are unable to find a political solution to it, we will be repeating our mistakes again and again,” he said.
Omar said the PM listened to “us with patience and accepted our memorandum”.
He also tweeted saying he is “grateful to @narendramodi ji for taking out the time to receive the delegation from J&K and giving us a patient hearing beyond allotted time.”
The leaders flagged the issue of youths falling victims to the continued protests, including a young teenager named Irfan who was killed on Sunday night when a teargas shell hit him on his chest.
“We also implore you to announce an immediate ban on pellet guns and advise relevant quarters against the policy of mass harassment, raids and arrests as this has worsened an already volatile situation in the State and also goes against the values and principles of democracy,” the memorandum submitted to Modi said.
Asked about the statement made by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Jammu on Sunday that stone-pelters were no “satyagrahis but aggressors”, Omar said, “I do not wish to say anything on this as the prime minister told us nothing like this.
“And more importantly, let’s not play politics over Jammu and Kashmir. We will get ample time to play political games later.”
The delegation also comprising National Conference leaders Nasir Wani and Davinder Rana -- has been camping in the national capital and meeting political leaders from the government and opposition.
The delegation started the political initiative on Saturday when it met President Pranab Mukherjee and submitted a memorandum, requesting him to use his office to influence the Centre for initiating a political dialogue with all stakeholders in the state.
On Sunday, the delegation met Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and apprised him about the situation in the state.
Image: Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with the joint delegation of opposition parties led by former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Monday. Photograph: @PIB_India/Twitter