Centre On Board With Holding Talks With "All Stakeholders" in Kashmir

The APD has put all Kashmir-related suggestions, including holding a plebiscite, on the table for the first time.

It seems the Centre is on board with discussing all the points of view possible when it comes to Kashmir, following its Wednesday meeting with the all-party delegation (APD) that just returned from Kashmir. It also seems that the Centre will stick to its agenda of holding dialogue with all the stakeholders in the Kashmir issue without compromising on the issue of national sovereignty.

After its nearly three-hour-long follow-up meeting with the APD at Parliament House, the Centre is learnt to have firmed up a ‘dual track’ approach of trying to resolve Kashmir’s issues through dialogue and urging its people to shun violence. Though this in itself may not be anything new for hardliners like the Hurriyat Conference – which has always accused the Indian government of ignoring the key issue of self-determination – what is new is that the APD has put all Kashmir-related suggestions, including holding a plebiscite, on the table for the first time.

With union home minister Rajnath Singh himself leading the APD, the ministry has made a significant move and come out with a ‘summary of issues’ raised by the various delegations which met with the team in New Delhi. Ranging from conducting a plebiscite to implementing the autonomy resolution passed by the Kashmir state assembly in 2000, the document contains a number of suggestions often expressed by hardliners.

On the other hand the document also aims to further develop dialogue on Kashmir as it has suggested holding talks with separatists and Pakistan in order to establish lasting peace in the Valley.

Other issues mentioned in the summary include demands for reviewing AFSPA, reducing military and paramilitary presence in civilian areas; announcing a package for Muslims along the lines of the one established for Kashmiri Pandits, investigating the sources funding unrest in Kashmir by building new mosques, implementing a relief and rehabilitation package for Kashmiri migrants and investigating complaints of corruption against public servants.

On a macro scale, there were also demands for implementing the agenda of the PDP-BJP alliance, holding elections for the local bodies and allowing refugees from Pakistan to participate in them and also demands for ending infiltration and cross-border terrorism.

While members of the APD interacted with citizens from Jammu and Kashmir, it was also pointed out that the promised compensation for the 2014 floods has still not been distributed properly, many residents have only received a pittance so far or nothing at all.

Many of the groups which met with the delegation also called for implementing the recommendations of the five working groups which were constituted in 2006 – under then prime minister Manmohan Singh – and whose recommendations cover almost every aspect of the life of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

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