December 2016 News

Restore Right To Dignified Life, Kashmir Leaders Tell Delhi Team

12 December 2016
The Hindu
Peerzada Ashiq

Srinagar: Valley-based civil society groups on Monday pledged support to the initiative of a team from Delhi led by former Union Minister Yashwant Sinha, 'provided concrete measures are taken on the ground'. During the meeting with a number of representatives of civil society groups in Srinagar, the Delhi team was asked to push for 'concrete measures towards creating a conducive atmosphere'. Most speakers told the delegation that 'engagement with the Hurriyat was imperative'. They called for restoration of the 'right to a dignified life', 'probe into grave rights violations, civilian deaths' and 'release of prisoners who need to be released'. 'We support the initiative, provided the Delhi team impresses upon the Centre to help change the ground situation and start a dialogue process,' said a participant. The Kashmir High Court Bar Association also asked the Delhi team to push towards a 'continuous and fruitful dialogue process'. In a separate meeting, legislator Engineer Rashid described 'Jammu and Kashmir as not an integral part of India'. 'The only way to resolve the dispute is holding a free and fair plebiscite on both sides of the Line of Control,' said Mr. Rashid. He called for 'talks with the militant leadership' and asked New Delhi 'to stop labelling everybody as Pakistani agents'. 'I believe former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's Kashmir policy has no takers. It is a propaganda that Kashmiris liked Vajpayee's stand,' he added. Mr. Sinha has reiterated that his delegation has no mandate from the Centre, but promised 'to apprise New Delhi of the ground situation'. The delegation is not meeting any separatists this time. The Delhi team had first come to the Valley in October in the backdrop of a four-month street agitation, which left over 90 civilians dead. The police on Monday foiled a religious conference organised by Hurriyat faction chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani in Srinagar.