'Release Hurriyat leaders, start meaningful dialogue'

SRINAGAR: National Conference President Dr Farooq Abdullah on Friday presided over a meeting of opposition parties in J&K at his residence in Srinagar to discuss the prevailing situation in the State.

The meeting was attended by a delegation of leaders from the Indian National Congress led by JKPCC Chief, Ghulam Ahmed Mir, Senior Leaders of J&K National Conference, Mohammad Yusuf Tarigami from CPI (m), Chairman Peoples’ Democratic Front Hakeem Mohammad Yaseen and President Democratic Party Nationalist Ghulam Hassan Mir, a statement issued by NC said this evening.

Dr Farooq Abdullah said the prevailing situation in the State was alarming and there was a need to constructively find a lasting solution to the political issue in Kashmir.

The National Conference President reiterated the need for a consensus within the opposition parties to work towards an effective resolution of the issue to bring the State out of turmoil and instability.

Condemning the wave of indiscriminate arrests and mass repression of civilians, Dr Farooq Abdullah said this approach would further alienate the youth and add to the anger and resentment on the ground.

“Since the Prime Minister has accepted the need for dialogue to find a lasting solution to the political issue, it is imperative that the Central Government initiates talks with stakeholders within the State and also resumes a meaningful dialogue with Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir Issue. The PDP-BJP Alliance – in its ‘Agenda of the Alliance’ has promised a dialogue between New Delhi and stakeholders of different opinions and they cannot escape their responsibility to initiate a political process,” Dr Farooq Abdullah said.

Dr Farooq Abdullah also condemned the State Government’s decision to foist examinations on students in spite of the fact that they haven’t been able to complete their prescribed curriculum due to the situation in the State.

“The Government should not torment the students but look at their position with sensitivity,” Dr Farooq said.

Dr Farooq Abdullah also demanded that Hurriyat leaders should be released and the State Government should facilitate a meaningful and credible political dialogue between Hurriyat Conference and the Central Government.

“Thousands of young boys have been arrested based on vindictiveness and retribution and the State Government should order their release to create a conducive and reconciliatory atmosphere in the State,” Dr Farooq Abdullah added.

“It is also extremely tragic that standing crops and animal fodder is being destroyed in the hinterland to persecute the common masses. Houses are being ransacked and property destroyed. This is only adding to the alienation and is taking us farther from peace and stability. Our Tourism Industry stands devastated and that too has affected hundreds and thousands of families in the State,” the National Conference President said.

Addressing the meeting, JKPCC Chief Ghulam Ahmed Mir said the opposition parties in the State should be united in initiating a proactive process of reaching out the people in this situation of uncertainty and suffering.

Mir asked the Union Government to realize its responsibilities and address the simmering situation in Kashmir without any further delay.

The JKPCC Chief said that since the Prime Minister had acknowledged that Kashmir is a political issue that requires a process of engagement to find a lasting solution, he should announce the initiation of a credible and meaningful political process without any further delay.

Senior CPI (m) leader Mohammad Yusuf Tarigami said the genesis of political turmoil in the State lies in historical blunders and mistakes such as one that was perpetuated in 1953.

Tarigami said there was a need for national parties to introspect and understand that status-quo in Kashmir was not a sustainable option.

“To think that waiting for the agitation and unrest to subside is a solution in itself is a problematic and highly dangerous approach. If this agitation ends due to fatigue, it will re-erupt sooner or later because of a new provocation. There is no denying the fact that Kashmir is a political issue and needs political settlement,” Tarigami said.

Chairman Peoples’ Democratic Front (PDF), Hakeem Mohammad Yaseen said the PDP-BJP Alliance has clearly promised in its ‘Agenda of the Alliance’ that it would facilitate a dialogue with all stakeholders irrespective of their political views and ideology and it was hence contradicting its own promises by jailing Hurriyat leaders.

“If they had promised that there would be an engagement with Hurriyat leaders, why have they put them in jails or under house arrest? This is a glaring contradiction,” Hakeem Mohammad Yaseen said.

President Democratic Party Nationalist (DPN) Ghulam Hassan Mir said it was important for all political parties to find common ground in finding a lasting solution to the political issue and also in resolving the current crisis in the State.

“Unfortunately New Delhi has always shown contempt towards all efforts from political parties and leaders from J&K to seek a resolution of the lingering political issue. We have to realize the gravity of the situation on the ground and work together in helping the State and our people to come out of this situation,” Ghulam Hassan Mir said.

The Opposition Parties unanimously demanded the initiation of a dialogue to resolve the political issue and condemned the indiscriminate wave of arrests and mass repression in the State.

The Opposition Parties also unanimously demanded that the Central Government appoints a retired judge of the Supreme Court to hold a transparent and time-bound inquiry into the deaths and injuries caused by the indiscriminate use of pellet guns and fix responsibility for the tragic loss of young lives and the blinding and maiming of numerous young boys and girls.

The Opposition Parties also unanimously demanded that the State Government calls a Special Session of the Legislature to discuss the prevailing situation in the Valley.

The Opposition Parties also asked the State Government to not torment thousands of students by being insensitive to the fact that their studies have suffered a jolt that has made it impossible for them to appear in examinations unless their syllabus is covered.

The Opposition Parties’ Meeting was chaired by Dr Farooq Abdullah and attended by JKPCC Chief Ghulam Ahmed Mir, Senior CPI (m) Leader M Y Tarigami, DPN President Ghulam Hassan Mir, PDF Chairman Hakeem Mohammad Yaseen, NC Leaders including Party General Secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar, Senior Leaders Abdul Rahim Rather, Mohammad Shafi Uri, Sharif-ud-din Shariq and Spokesperson Junaid Mattu; Congress Leaders Taj Mohiuiddin, Peerzada Mohammad Sayeed, Ghulam Nabi Monga and Abdul Rashid Dar.

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