Sinha Group to Hold National Conclave on Kashmir Situation

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NEW DELHI: The Home Ministry has no information about a national conclave on Kashmir reportedly being planned here by BJP leader Yashwant Sinha and JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav as part of peace efforts in the valley.

“We have no knowledge about the conclave on Kashmir. We have read it in the media only. No one has approached the Home Ministry,” a ministry official said today.

There have been reports that Sinha and Yadav met on Sunday to chalk out plans to bring together different groups working on Kashmir for a national conclave this month.

The meet will attempt to seek a “unified voice” on resolving the Kashmir unrest and restoring peace.

Both Sinha and Yadav were part of separate delegations which met separatist leaders in the valley last year.

During his half an hour meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, former J&K Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah requested Modi to look at the proposed initiative by Sinha, supported by opposition parties and leaders, including Janata Dal (United)’s Sharad Yadav and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI (M)), as a means to reach out to the people of Kashmir.

Leaders from all parties, including the ruling BJP, are expected to be invited for the conclave, which is likely to be addressed by experts, activists and writers.

On Tuesday, Sinha, Yadav and CPI (M) Chief Sitaram Yechury also reached out to the Congress party to be a part of the initiative to hold a conference on J&K.

According to Opposition sources, apart from Sinha and Yadav, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad and Yechury are likely to send a joint invite for this conference on J&K.

“The plan is to invite intellectuals, experts on Kashmir and political leaders to the conference with the objective of sending a message to the people of the state that rest of India is concerned about them and cares for them,” Yadav was quoted as saying by the Business Standard.

CPI (M)’s Central Committee at its meeting on April 21 had expressed “grave concern” at the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, and had “proposed to hold a convention of likeminded political forces, intellectuals and social movements on the Kashmir situation.”

There have been spiralling protests in the valley with students, including girls, seen pelting stones on security personnel in these incidents.

Announcement of by-polls for two parliamentary seats of Srinagar and Anantnag triggered further protests and violence and during April 9 bypoll to the Srinagar seat eight people lost their lives and only 7 percent people turned up to vote forcing ECI to postpone second by-poll for Anantnag seat.

Kashmir has been on the boil since the death of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani in an encounter in July last year. More than 100 people lost their lives, while hundred plus young men were blinded by the rampant use of pellet guns by the security forces on protesters following Wani’s killing.

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