‘Group intends to open communication channels with Hurriyat’
Soon after former external affairs minister, Yashwant Sinha’s team wound up its third visit to Kashmir on Saturday, yet another team arrived in the Valley and travelled to south Kashmir.
The team headed by the Chairman Indian Council of Food and Agriculture, M J Khan comprises noted journalist Shahid Siddiqui, West Asia expert Qamar Agha and Justice (Rtd) Ishrat Masroor Quddusi.
The foursome soon after landing in Srinagar, travelled to south Kashmir, which has been the epicenter of protests after the killing of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani on July 8 last year.
Talking to Kashmir Post, Khan, who is heading the four-member team said, “Everyone in New Delhi from the Home Minister (Rajnath Singh) to the Army chief (Gen Bipin Rawat) are concerned and keen to build on the statement of the Prime Minister (Narendra Modi).”
Modi had in his August 15 speech said, “Na goli se, na gaali se, Kashmir kisa ma syasuljhegi gale lagaane se (Kashmir’s problems can be solved only with embracing the people of Kashmir, not with bullets or abuses).”
Khan said the objective of the visit was to talk to a cross section of society and understand the ongoing political and security situation.
In south Kashmir and on their return to Srinagar, the team met various delegations and listened to various stakeholders.
Most of these people raised the issue of New Delhi’s interference in the State affairs and their attempts at tinkering with Article 35-A and Article 370 with them.
Shahid Siddiqui told Kashmir Post that Kashmir ultimately requires a political solution and for that to happen, there was a need to create an environment of confidence.
The visiting delegations also told the four-member team that for fructification of any peace process in Kashmir, there was a need to engage the Hurriyat Conference and Islamabad in dialogue.
Some youth also sought investment of the private investors in Kashmir without the process affecting the special status of the State.
They also complained that almost all the jobs advertised by the government are taken up by the kith and kin of the mainstream politicians and bureaucrats.
The delegation did not meet any political leader either from the mainstream or the Hurriyat Conference on Sunday.
However, sources said the group intends to opening communication channels with the Hurriyat during its visit.
The team is meeting Ulemas, civil society groups, businessmen and women groups.