October 2016 News

Civil Society Group Meets KCCI, KCSDS To Break Impasse In Valley

26 October 2016
The Daily Excelsior
Fayaz Bukhari

Srinagar: The Civil Society delegation led by former External Affairs Minister and senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, today met various trader bodies, Civil Society members and Kashmir Bar Association to find ways of ending the nearly four-month-long impasse in Kashmir that has paralysed life. The delegation met representatives of Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA), Kashmir Centre for Social and Development Studies (KCSDS) and Kashmir Bar Association. Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Sinha said the delegation is in the Valley to understand the pain of the people and to share that pain. 'We said it yesterday as well that this group came here for humanity, to understand the pain of the people here and to associate ourselves with that. In this regard, we are trying to meet all the stakeholders here,' he added. Sinha said:'I am in a position to say today that by the response we are getting, we feel that we can share their pain. After this, we will talk'. When asked what was next on their agenda, he said, 'We are here tomorrow as well.we can go back 2000 years and say that 2000 years back there was pain like this. We will take care of what has happened in the past but we will look forward'. After their meeting with the delegation, KCCI president Mushtaq Ahmad Wani said they pitched for a meaningful dialogue with the stakeholders, in an apparent refererence to the separatists. 'We placed the concerns of the people before them. We informed them about the three month long unrest and the killings and expressed our concerns and told them that an unconditional dialogue be started with the real stakeholders', he added. 'We told them that you must prevail upon the Government of India to start an unconditional dialogue with the stakeholders very soon,' Wani said. The KCCI president said that they did not talk about economic losses during the meeting. 'They asked about it but we told them that our only concern is the human losses here,' he added. Declining to reveal what else transpired in the meeting, Wani said: 'We cannot share with the press what they told us, but perhaps something good will happen. Dialogue with real stakeholders may start. They perhaps gave such a hint'. They told the delegation that people were angry as the Centre had trashed the reports of previous such delegations and interlocutors when the situation improved in the Valley. 'Our senior colleagues told them that they took much time to visit Kashmir,' Wani said. 'Last time, no one met the delegation from Delhi as the reports of the delegations and interlocutors, who visited here before, were thrown into dustbins by the Government of India. So, people here are angry. The need is to have a meaningful dialogue with the stakeholders,' he said. A statement issued by the KCSDS this evening said :'We the civil society members under the banner of Kashmir Centre for Social and Development Studies (KCSDS) urge the Government of India to resolve the Kashmir dispute in its historical perspective and as per the aspirations of the majority of people of Jammu and Kashmir.' In this regard, the statement said, 'immediate and urgent steps' would be required to be taken to make situation conducive to a meaningful and time-bound dialogue between all the parties to the dispute including Pakistan. 'Release all Hurriyat (Conference) leaders and allow them to interact within themselves as well as with other stakeholders. Withdraw ban on their movement to address peaceful gatherings', reads the memorandum of KCSDS. 'Release all political prisoners, activists and protestors and withdraw all cases against them. Arrest of physically challenged human rights defender Khurram Parvez is shameful' the memorandum said, adding 'allow peaceful assembly of people and their right to protest. Demilitarise all cities, towns and other civilian areas. Stop use of lethal force including pallet guns on protestors. Stop harassing Government employees for participating in protests against human rights violations. Lift media gag and ban on newspapers, internet, social networking, cell phones and private news channels. Stop black-mailing newspapers on account of government advertisements. Initiate a time-bound probe all killings, fatal injuries including blinding and maiming, damage of properties and other excesses through a judicial commission. Repeal all anti-human and draconian laws including AFSPA, PSA etc. Stop all attempts of changing demography of the state and dividing the society in religious groups and sects. Stop ghettoising communities in the name of rehabilitation. Provide advanced medical treatment of pallet victims and other critically injured protestors. Provide medical treatment to all political prisoners, activists and other protestors languishing in jails. Probe and fix responsibility for deteriorating health conditions of Hurriyat leader Mohammad Yasin Malik'. The memorandum further reads: 'Stop shameful acts of harassing volunteers and NGOs for providing need based help to victims of Government violence. Stop harassment of prominent civil society members, citizens, and human rights defenders by summoning them to police stations and questioning. Conduct annual examinations as per the convenience and wishes of school-college going students. Probe and punish the forces responsible for killing of horses and other live stocks of nomads; crushing of apples and other fruits of orchardists; burning of crops of farmers and damaging of hundreds of electric transformers. Stop harassment of assesses, loanees by Tax departments and banks. Stop vandalising ecology and environment in the name of religious pilgrimage. Stop exploitation of natural resources including water resources. Initiate meaningful and time-bound dialogue with Hurriyat (Conference) leadership and Pakistan for the lasting resolution of Kashmir dispute'. The members of the delegation also met Kashmir Economic Alliance, Hoteliers Association and Kashmir Bar Association who also presented their view point to the visiting civil society delegation.