September 2017 News

Rajnath To Arrive This Weekend, May Offer Talks To Separatists

5 September 2017
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Majid Jahangir

Srinagar: The coming weekend will see a lot of political activity in the state. Home Minister Rajnath Singh will be in Srinagar and is likely to make a breakthrough in initiating a dialogue with various stakeholders while former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will land in Jammu. The ruling Peoples Democratic Party will also be holding a party convention in the summer capital. Rajnath will arrive on a two-day visit to Kashmir on September 9 and there is a possibility that he may extend an olive branch to separatists, and may make an offer for dialogue as envisaged in the Agenda of Alliance of coalition partners PDP and BJP. 'The Home Minister may offer dialogue during his upcoming Srinagar visit,' a PDP leader disclosed. In his Independence Day speech, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asserted that the Kashmir problem could not be resolved by either bullets or abuses and a solution could only be found by embracing Kashmiris. During his stay, Rajnath Singh will review the security and hold meetings with Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and Governor NN Vohra, the PDP leader said. The Home Minister's visit comes at a time when there is a lot of apprehension over Article 35A and Kashmir-based mainstream parties, including the PDP, have warned against any tampering with the special position of the state. The PDP is holding a rally in Srinagar on Sunday which will be addressed by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who is also the party president. While the PDP leadership terms it a routine political rally, sources in the party said there was a possibility that the Home Minister might also attend the rally and announce the outreach. 'There is every possibility that the Home Minister may attend the rally,' a party source said. PDP vice-president Sartaj Madni, who has been a votary of dialogue with Pakistan and separatists, however, said the Sunday rally would be a routine party gathering. A Congress delegation led by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be also be visiting the state.