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All-party delegation to Kashmir: Omar says no follow-up, Mehbooba pitches for unconditional talks

National Conference working president Omar Abdullah addresses a press conference after a meeting with the all-party delegation in Srinagar on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: PTI

While Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti pitched for unconditional dialogue with all stakeholders during a meeting with the all-party parliamentary delegation on Kashmir, her predecessor, Omar Abdullah, expressed anguish over absence of follow-up action after similar visits in the past.

During his hour-long interaction with the delegation, Mr. Abdullah recalled the previous all-party delegation visits since 1990 to Kashmir and said that “unfortunately when things cool down, there is no progress on the issue”. He said the MPs who have come to Kashmir this time have a mammoth task on their hands to revive faith in this process.

He said the then Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao had promised “sky is the limit” but failed to do anything.

“There was a time when my father had conveyed to grant internal autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir and had warned New Delhi that if they continue to deny it, time will come when it will also not be acceptable to people of Jammu and Kashmir. I think we are heading for that time only,” Mr. Abdullah said.

He told the delegation that his party workers were pressurising him not to attend the meeting.

Mr. Abdullah also spoke of “continuous failure of the State government and its dilly-dallying tactics”.

“Mehbooba Mufti should decide whether she wants to be the Chief Minister or Leader of Opposition. In the morning she says one thing and does a complete about turn by evening. She wants that Hurriyat should be talked to but in the evening she puts them under arrest,” he said.

Mr. Abdullah said such all-party delegations have lost credibility because there was no follow-up after their visits in the past.

“What happened to 2010 all-party delegation. It was never followed up so the parliamentarians who have come here have a mammoth task on their hands to revive faith in this process,” he said.

When asked whether he agreed with the Chief Minister’s perception that only five per cent people were unhappy, Omar said, “I wonder by what stretch of imagination, she has arrived at this figure. I don’t agree at all. The space for mainstream politicians has shrunk courtesy the present ruling alliance.”

Meanwhile, Ms. Mufti pitched for unconditional dialogue with all stakeholders as she met the all—party parliamentary delegation and offered to help in this regard.

She said she was committed to help initiate a “sustained and meaningful dialogue” within the State with political groups, irrespective of the ideological views and predilections of the political groups.

“Met the ‘All Party Delegation’ at S.K.I.C.C today and pitched for unconditional talks with all stakeholders,” Ms. Mufti wrote in a Facebook post. Earlier, she refused to talk to reporters at the venue of the meeting.

The Chief Minister said she reiterated the commitment to catalyse the reconciliation and confidence building within the State and across the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir.

“Also committed to help initiate a sustained and meaningful dialogue with all internal stakeholders, which will include all political groups irrespective of their ideological views and predilections,” she said.

“This dialogue seeks to build a broad-based consensus on resolution of all outstanding issues of J&K,” she added.

Ms. Mufti, in her capacity as PDP president, wrote a letter to separatist leaders on Saturday, appealing them to engage with the all-party delegation for finding a solution to the problems of Jammu and Kashmir.

However, the separatists turned down the invitation saying the delegation had not spelled out a mandate.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2021 10:29:41 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/All-party-delegation-to-Kashmir-Omar-says-no-follow-up-Mehbooba-pitches-for-unconditional-talks/article14623277.ece

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