Seeking ways to defuse the three-month unrest in Kashmir Valley, an all-party delegation led by Home Minister P. Chidambaram commenced a series of meetings which will be also attended by PDP but without its chief Mehbooba Mufti while separatists are staying away.
The 42-member team, which arrived here on a crucial two-day visit to assess the ground situation, was received by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, as curfew remained clamped in the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir. The death toll during violence and clashes in the last three months is now at 103.
PDP’s Mehbooba Mufti will not be meeting the delegation which will have interaction with the main opposition party’s General Secretary Mohd Dilawar Meer, who will be accompanied by 14 party members.
Moderate Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and JKLF will skip meeting the team but will submit a memorandum to it, JKLF chief Yasin Malik said.
“It is a creative memorandum. Hope it is taken in the right spirit and that the delegation understands the pulse of the people,” Mr. Malik said.
Some members of the 42-member delegation are likely to call on hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani at his Hyderpora residence here.
Though Mr. Geelani has officially refused to meet them, he said the delegation members will not be turned away if they decide to call on him at his house as they were guests.
Shortly after arrival, Mr. Chidambaram said each major political party in J and K has been allotted 15 minutes.
“It is very important that you use your 15 minutes to your best advantage,” he said.
Five injured in police firing
Meanwhile, at least five persons were injured, two of them critically, when police allegedly opened fire to chase away a stone-pelting mob in Sopore town of Baramulla district on Monday, official sources said.
A group of youths defied curfew this afternoon and tried to stage a demonstration against the killing of 25-year-old Mubeena at Natipora village in the apple-rich town of Sopore, 55 km from Srinagar, last evening, they said.
Police lobbed teargas shells and used batons to disperse the protesters who turned violent and resorted to heavy stone pelting.
As baton-charge and teargas shelling proved ineffective, police opened fire as a result of which five persons were injured, the sources said, adding two of the injured were referred to Srinagar as their condition was stated to be “critical“.
Mubeena died after she was hit by a stray bullet inside her house while police was chasing a crowd.