Contradicting the BJP's stand, the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister said a meeting with separatists was part of the all-party delegates' schedule.
Expressing satisfaction over the all-party delegation’s visit to Kashmir Valley, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Tuesday said it was the endeavour of his government that the visiting team got a balanced view about the situation in the State.
“I cannot expect everyone to praise me but the fact that they got a balanced view (about the situation) is important,” Mr. Abdullah, who was accompanying a team of 11-members led by Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram to this small town, told reporters.
The delegation had decided to visit this town, 44 km from Srinagar, as it had witnessed large scale violence on September 13 when an angry mob ransacked a missionary school and several government buildings while protesting alleged desecration of Holy Koran in the U.S.
Meeting with separatists, part of the schedule
On the delegation members meeting separatists leaders including hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Hurriyat Chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and JKLF chief Yaseen Malik, Mr. Omar said this was scheduled and “we had only worked towards it to make it possible. I am happy that it worked and the delegation got views of every shade of opinion in the Valley.”
“The delegation has come obviously to get a report about the ground situation here and we were accused of stage managing... but we tried to ensure that the delegation meets as many people as possible,” he said.
The chief minister said the delegation’s visit was not a “mere show” and they needed to know the ground situation in the Valley.
“Kashmir is not only about mainstream political parties only but also about separatist groups. Our effort was to show the visiting delegation the real picture of what is happening here,” he said.
Asked whether the visit of the delegation was a delayed response, the chief minister said, “Obviously lot of things could have been done but better late than never.”
The delegation, which also had BJP’s Arun Jaitley, met a cross-section of people in this area who sought early resolution of Kashmir issue.
Around 300 people who came forward to meet them also demanded revocation of Armed forces Special Powers Act, eradication of poverty, unemployment and complained about poor infrastructure.