In a major initiative to deal with the unrest in Kashmir, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Tuesday that the Centre was willing to consider autonomy for the state within the ambit of the Constitution.
Reaching out to the people of the state, Singh told a meeting of representatives of various political parties from the state here that if there was a consensus between them on autonomy, the Centre would consider it within the ambit of the Constitution.
"We are all servants of the Constitution. There are many shades of opinion in various parts of Jammu and Kashmir. My senior ministers and I present here show our seriousness in addressing the issues," he said.
The prime minister said that he was aware of the alienation of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and that it had to be removed. "Jammu and Kashmir residents must have a life of self-respect and dignity," he emphasised.
Noting that a "political solution" is the key to the problem in Kashmir, Singh made it clear that nothing will be done outside the framework of the Constitution.
"The basic problem is political and there is a need to focus on developmental aspects, recognising the diversity in all the three regions of J and K," he said in his closing remarks after a four-hour-long meeting with an all party delegation from the state.
Read: PM's complete speech in Kashmir