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Govt to hold talks with leaders in Jammu and Kashmir: Indian political parties

05 September, 2016

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NEW DELHI: Several political parties said on Saturday they want the government to hold talks with all stakeholders in Jammu and Kashmir, including the pro-Azadi Hurriyat Conference, to calm the current unrest in the state.

After a briefing for MPs who will accompany Home Minister Rajnath Singh on his visit to Srinagar on Sunday, the Congress and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) said all stakeholders should be approached.

“Government should invite Hurriyat for talks with the all-party delegation...The invitation extended to others should be given to Hurriyat also. It is up to them whether they want to meet the delegation,” CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said.

Mr Singh on Saturday cleared the use of chilli-filled grenades as an alternative to pellet guns, which will be used in rarest of rare cases, reports said.

Mr Yechury said the government should make “tangible” announcements such as a ban on use of pellet guns by police forces, withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act from civilian areas and compensation for those who lost their lives in the violence.

He said these measures were needed to follow up Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement of taking peace initiative on the basis of ‘Insaaniyat, Jamuriyat and Kashmiriyat’.

The delegation will interact with individuals and groups in an attempt to bring peace in the valley, which has been facing unrest following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani in an encounter on July 8.

Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is the leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha, said the United Progressive Alliance is open to holding dialogue with all stakeholders.

“We have said that the option of dialogue should be open to all stakeholders. Government should open the dialogue with all stakeholders. The centre and the state government know who the stakeholders are. They have to identify the stakeholders and invite,” he said.

Mr Azad said the pellet guns should be replaced with less lethal options to control protesters in Kashmir Valley.

Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra of the Shiromani Akali Dal said the secular face of Jammu & Kashmir is being lost due to violence. “It needs a political framework. It is not merely a law and order issue.”

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