Mirwaiz has called for a ‘serious political and diplomatic effort to resolve the Kashmir issue’

Political parties across the spectrum on Tuesday welcomed All Parties Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq’s call to collectively pursue a “serious political and diplomatic effort to resolve the Kashmir issue,” but some pointed out that the separatists too needed to build consensus among themselves.

In an open letter to the “people of India” – published in The Hindu — Mirwaiz urged all parties to “engage actively with one another” on Kashmir, instead of following the same old “default policy approach that has allowed the Kashmir issue to fester for more than six decades.”

“The BJP will address this issue with the same sincerity that was evident during the premiership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. As the manifesto says, even Article 370 will be discussed with all stakeholders in a democratic spirit. Kashmir is an integral part of India and of Indian democracy,” party spokesman M.J. Akbar said.

While it remains unwavering in its stand that Jammu and Kashmir is an inseparable part of India, there has been a softening in the BJP’s position on scrapping of Article 370. From a non-negotiable abrogation of the contentious law, the party has recently accepted that there should be a “discussion” with stakeholders to ascertain its utility.

Congress spokesman Randeep Surjewala said the party always stood for a peaceful and amicable resolution of the Kashmir issue within the boundaries of the Constitution and without an iota of compromise on India’s territorial integrity.

“We are ready to speak to all parties,” Mr. Surjewala said.

Another Congress spokesperson Salman Soz appealed to all separatists to evolve consensus within their ranks. Pointing out that his party has always been in favour of a political dialogue with all shades of opinion in Jammu and Kashmir for arriving at an amicable settlement, Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Prakash Karat said it was now up to the new government to initiate this move.

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