September 2016 News

Rajnath To Visit J&K Again As All-party Meet Has No Solution

7 September 2016
Iftikhar Gilani and Manan Kumar

New Delhi: The only outcome from the all-party delegation's visit to Jammu and Kashmir is that Union home minister Rajnath Singh will bring all the four mainstream political parties of the state - National Conference (NC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) - on one platform to find a way out of the current imbroglio and restore normalcy. Equipped with the consensus points, Rajnath would again get back to the all-party delegation for a threadbare discussion on these suggestions and the final consensus emerging at the meeting will be placed before the Union cabinet for approval and vigorous implementation. The way out shown was in line with the suggestion by Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge. A home ministry presentation, actually the inputs and sum-up gathered from the all-party delegation's visit, squarely blamed the Mehbooba Mufti government for its failure to deal with the law-and-order situation. The delegation also faulted the state government on many counts, including non-fulfilment of promises. The delegation pointed out that the 2014 flood relief has not been distributed properly as some got Rs 3,000, some Rs 5 lakh and some none at all. It also noted that 'corruption is a major issue in Jammu and Kashmir as not a single public servant or government officer has been investigated for corruption so far.' Though the delegation members were in disagreement on several points like removal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), and judicial inquiry into the excesses of security forces, they were on the same page that the Mehbooba Mufti government should not be disturbed in the current state of affairs and given full support to find a way out of the current imbroglio. CPM leader Sitaram Yechury suggested a dual track approach of generating people's confidence by announcing a total ban on pellet guns, rehabilitating people affected by violence, judicial inquiry into the excesses of security forces, removal of AFSPA from civilian areas and starting an unconditional political dialogue with all stakeholders, including separatists. Yechury also requested the prime minister to take the initiative to start an Indo-Pak dialogue during his forthcoming visit to the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) meeting. The presentation also mentioned that unrest was more in the rural areas of south Kashmir and the daily hartal calendar is being issued by the Pakistani side under the name of separatists. It called for controlling people before they gather on streets, but asked for lifting of curfew in calm areas. On not acting on past recommendations, the presentation said that out of the 53 recommendations made by the interlocutors in 2010, the J&K government is yet to respond to 28 recommendations. Some other issues during the delegation's visit included the need to regulate the state government's advertisements, radicalisation of madrasas and mosques, the need to probe the funding of unrest and newly built mosques, stoppage of drug-smuggling and infiltration from Pakistan, dealing with cross-border terrorism forcefully, reducing footprints of military and paramilitary forces from civilian areas and financial relaxation for business losses. In an update on the latest law-and-order situation, the ministry pointed out that of the 1,732 incidents in the state since July 8, after the killing of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani, resulting in the death of 60 civilians and two security personnel, 33, including the death of two security personnel, happened between July 8 and 14. Srinagar district had the highest (411 incidents) with four civilian deaths, followed by 259 in Baramulla district in north Kashmir that saw 3 killed, while Anantnag, Shopian, Pulwama and Kulgam in south Kashmir had high civilian toll (37) and two security personnel.