Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram's announcement of an eight-point formula to defuse the crisis in Kashmir has evoked mixed reaction from mainstream and separatist political parties.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah welcomed the Centre's decision to move towards finding a solution to the Kashmir problem. Four points concerned the State government and of that “we have already decided on one regarding opening of schools on Monday.” He said his government would take gradual steps to de-escalate the tension in the area.

“The Unified Headquarters will review areas under the Disturbed Areas Act but don't expect results after the first meet, it will take time. We need to discuss how to reduce security forces' footprint,” Mr. Abdullah said.

Opposition People's Democratic Party's senior leader Nizamuddin Bhat was cautious in responding to the announcement. “To address the current situation in Kashmir is a complex issue. We will have a look at the announcement and will discuss it within ourselves before making a response but one thing is clear that the thrust is to be given to minimising the trust deficit,” he said.

Senior NC leader and Law Minister Ali Muhammad Sagar said it was a good initiative especially the one on appointing interlocutors. “We hope that these interlocutors would meet separatist leadership and take forward the dialogue process for the peaceful resolution of Kashmir issue. Other announcements are also positive in nature,” he said.

Pradesh Congress Committee chief Saifuddin Soz too welcomed the appointment of interlocutors, saying it was a good beginning. “I have heard about the release of all students, reviewing the laws, and a package to the families who have lost their dear ones. This all has relieved me,” Professor Soz told The Hindu. .

“Buying time”

Describing the eight-point package as mere ‘eye wash,' Chairman of hard-line Hurriyat Syed Ali Shah Geelani said India was buying time. “None of our demands has been discussed.”

“This is mere time-buying tactics adopted by India. We will not bow down to the economic packages by the New Delhi. Our youth did not sacrifice their lives for the economic packages,” said Mr. Geelani.

He said the protests would continue “till India accepts Kashmir as an international dispute and other four conditions laid down by our party.”

“Cosmetic measure”

On removing bunkers from Srinagar city, Mr. Geelani said this is was just a cosmetic measure which won't help. “We want complete demilitarisation from Jammu and Kashmir and not cosmetic measures.” Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman, in a similar response, said, “Our working committee will meet and discuss it threadbare and comment.”