June 30, 2022 8:59 pm

LG’s outreach

LIEUTENANT Governor Manoj Sinha on Wednesday pleasantly surprised everyone by inviting the heads of the political parties for an evening meeting at Raj Bhawan. The meeting discussed the arrangements for the ongoing Amarnath yatra. In a tweet, LG said he met representatives of political parties and discussed arrangements and management of Shri Amarnath Ji Yatra. “The sacred pilgrimage strengthens our faith in the goodness of mankind and its successful conduct is the responsibility of every citizen of J&K UT,” a part of the tweet read. On their part, the J&K politicians said the yatra has remained part of Kashmir ethos and that it is a belief shared by all people in the union territory. The meeting was hosted by Sinha hours after he flagged off the first batch of Yatris from Jammu’s Bhagwati Nagar base camp.

That said, it was the first time that the LG has invited J&K leaders for a meeting, among them the leaders of the PAGD with whose politics the government has differed with. But on the question of yatra, all of them, except a few, come together. Did the meeting discuss anything besides the Amarnath pilgrimage? Nothing is known so far. The meeting was brief and called at very short notice. The PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti chose not to go. Her party said that they should have been informed about the meeting days ago and brief about its agenda. However, the National Conference president Dr Farooq Abdullah attended the meeting together with the BJP president Ravinder Raina, the leader of the AAP party Altaf Bukhari, Muzaffar Hussain Beigh  and the others. And according to the LG, the leaders, “speaking in one voice observed that Shri Amarnath Ji Yatra is like a big festival, a celebration of Kashmiriyat for common man of J&K and each and every citizen of UT will ensure warm hospitality & comfort of the pilgrims.”

It would be interesting to see what redeeming difference to the existing state of affairs would be made by the fresh engagement between the government and the major politicians of the UT. The situation has not been encouraging on this front over the last three years. Last year in June, heads of the political parties in the UT had met the prime minister Narendra Modi and the home minister Amit Shah in New Delhi. The PM had assured J&K leaders that his government will take steps to end “Dil ki doori aur delhi ki doori (distance between hearts and the distance with Delhi). But many J&K parties, particularly those from the Valley have often said that centre has taken no follow-up action since. Here’s hoping that the situation changes for the better from hereon.

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