PM says he shares the pain of Kashmiris

Development alone can’t solve the problem, Modi tells J&K delegation.

Updated - November 17, 2021 02:30 am IST

Published - August 22, 2016 04:42 pm IST - New Delhi

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah addresses the media in New Delhi on Monday. Photo: V. Sudershan

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah addresses the media in New Delhi on Monday. Photo: V. Sudershan

Reaching out to the people of the troubled Kashmir Valley, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said there had to be a dialogue to find a “permanent and lasting solution” to the problem within the framework of the Constitution.

In a meeting with leaders of Opposition parties from Kashmir on Monday, the Prime Minister stressed that all those who had lost their lives were “part of us” – be they youth, security personnel or policemen.

Appeals for peace

Distancing himself from some of the harsh statements emanating from within his government, Mr. Modi expressed “deep concern and pain” at the prevailing situation in the State and appealed for the restoration of normality.

Speaking in Jammu on Sunday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had described stone-throwers as “aggressors” and blamed Pakistan for the current unrest in the Valley.

“He [Mr. Modi] conveyed that his government and the nation stand with the State of Jammu & Kashmir and suggested that all political parties should reach out to the people and convey the same,” an official statement said.

Several leaders present at the meeting said the deliberations ended on a positive note. Talking to The Hindu, the Congress chief in Jammu and Kashmir G.A. Mir said the meeting was expected to last half-an-hour but the Prime Minister gave a “patient hearing” to the concerns of the delegation for over 55 minutes and also discussed ways to tackle the worsening situation in the State.

“He [the Prime Minister] said that ‘I am glad that you [delegation] came here and gave us detailed information about the ground situation and we understand that development alone cannot be the solution to the Kashmir problem’,” said Mr. Mir.

National Conference president Omar Abdullah, who led the delegation, welcomed the Prime Minister’s statement and extended his support for bringing normality in the State.

Mr. Abdullah said he was not politicising the ongoing unrest but wanted a solution to the crisis.

“Our efforts should be — whether we are in power or not — that the mistakes that have happened in the past should not be repeated. When I was ready to accept my mistakes in 2010 and learn from them, why can’t we accept our mistakes now and learn from them,” he said.

“We told the Prime Minister that the space for all political parties in Kashmir was shrinking,” said another Kashmiri leader present at the meeting.

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