Kashmir all-party meet discusses citizenship for refugees
12 May 2007
Indo-Asian News Service
Srinagar: Senior leaders from Jammu and Kashmir's mainstream political parties met here Saturday to reach a consensus on the controversial issues like the re-settlement of 1947 refugees and delimitation of fresh assembly constituencies.The close-door deliberations were held at the Nehru Guest House in Chesma Shahi area of summer capital Srinagar.Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, state Congress president Peerzada Muhammad Syed, People's Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti and Leader of Opposition Abdul Rahim Rather of the National Conference participated in the meet.Yusuf Tarigami, state general secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Bhim Singh of the Panther's Party and some leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) were also present.The objective of the all-party meet was to reach consensus on the re- settlement of 1947 refugees from West Pakistan, rehabilitation of refugees of the 1965 and 1971 wars and delimitation of fresh assembly constituencies with a view to increasing these by 25 percent.Both the People's Democratic Party, part of the ruling alliance, and the main opposition National Conference have said they would oppose any move to give citizenship rights to the refugees under the permanent residents' rules of the state.'It is an informal meet and the objective is to discuss freely the views of the various parties on all these issues,' a senior leader of the ruling Congress party said here.