August 2017 News

Manmohan Singh Will Lead Congress Team To Jammu And Kashmir

28 August 2017
The Asian Age

Srinagar: Former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh will lead a team of Congress leaders to Jammu and Kashmir in September. Dr Singh heads a policy-planning group on Kashmir that was constituted by Congress president Sonia Gandhi in April this year. Speaking to reporters, Jammu and Kashmir Congress chief G.A. Mir said, 'Dr Singh, who is likely to be accompanied by Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad and MP Ambika Soni, will visit Jammu on September 10 and Kashmir on 16 September.' The policy-planning group also consists of former finance minister P. Chidambaram and MP Dr Karan Singh. The group has had two meetings in Delhi to look into ways for suggesting a peaceful solution to the current impasse prevailing in the state. Insiders add that the group led by the former Prime Minister will be meeting 'like minded groups' to get first hand account of the situation prevailing in the state. The group will not be visiting Ladakh as of now but will be visiting at a later date. Mr Mir further added that, 'The idea is to get inputs from the grassroots. The current issues that the state is facing will also be discussed.' However, it is unclear whether the group will be meeting with the Hurriyat or not. The Congress group was created after violence gripped the state following the death of eight people in the state during the byelection to the Lok Sabha from Srinagar constituency. Currently, the issue of Article 35 A has also become a bone of contention in the state. The Article 35 A of the Constitution gives a free hand to the Jammu and Kashmir assembly to decide who all are 'permanent residents' of the state and confer on them special rights and privileges in public sector jobs, acquisition of property in the state, scholarships and other public aid and welfare. Presently, a writ petition filed by NGO We the Citizens challenges the validity of both Article 35A and Article 370 in the Supreme Court. Recently, a Supreme Court Bench, led by Justice Dipak Misra, tagged the Khanna petition with the We the Citizens case, which has been referred to a three-judge bench