The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will meet here later this week for a “threadbare” discussion on the situation in Kashmir amidst indications that the Centre may initiate new steps to break the impasse.
Even as he disclosed the decision to convene the CCS meeting, Dr. Singh told a group of editors, “I cannot promise you that I will produce a rabbit out of my hat....the country must learn to be patient.”
Pointing out that the Kashmir problem has existed for 63 years and Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi had all attempted to tackle it, Dr. Singh said, “We are still groping for a solution.”
The internal dimension of the militancy has gone down but other issues remained, he said.
In a reference to the current unrest in the valley, the Prime Minister said that there had to be a different attitude to riot control. No lethal weapons but more humane methods should be used to deal with crowds, he said.
Dr. Singh also favoured more and more powers to be shifted to Jammu and Kashmir police. “Sometime it will work, sometimes it will not work,” he said.
Asked for his comments on the state Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s statement that the status quo was not an option, the Prime Minister said that they were in touch with and he would not not like to engage in a public discussion on this.
Dr. Singh’s remarks came amidst reports that the Centre may launch a fresh initiative to break the deadlock in Kashmir by making concessions on the issue of Armed Forces Special Powers Act. It may also appoint an interlocutor to talk to various shades of opinion in the state.