J&K cold to Rajnath’s visit

Members of civil society groups boycott talks with the Minister

Updated - November 17, 2021 05:03 am IST

Published - July 24, 2016 12:05 am IST - Srinagar:

A policeman clears the road during a protest in Srinagar on Saturday.—Photo: Nissar Ahmad

A policeman clears the road during a protest in Srinagar on Saturday.—Photo: Nissar Ahmad

Prominent civil society groups and traders’ organisations boycotted Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s visit to the Kashmir Valley on Saturday.

The Minister, on a two-day visit to the State, will assess the situation on the ground in the wake of the 15-day curfew and shutdown of communication infrastructure in the Valley.

In the first move by the Centre to reach out directly to the people of the State, Mr. Singh, who arrived in Srinagar before noon, stationed himself at the Nehru Guest House near the Dal Lake.

The Valley’s leading traders’ body, the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry, refused to turn up.

State Congress chief G.A. Mir refused to meet Mr. Singh, saying: “The Centre failed to stop killings and is responsible, besides the State government, for the turmoil.” The Minister, National Conference (NC) spokesman Imran Dar said, should visit local hospitals to see real Kashmir and not the manicured one. Most mainstream political parties, except the Congress, decided to meet Mr. Singh on Sunday.

Hurriyat faction chairman Syed Ali Geelani demanded six confidence-building measures. They are accepting Jammu & Kashmir as a disputed region, demilitarisation, revocation of laws such as the AFSPA, release of political prisoners, allowing the UN Special Rapporteur to J&K to visit the region, and providing free political space to all political parties.

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