Points, counterpoints mar Delhi meeting
Divergent views, political ideologies affect consensus
Srinagar, Sept 15: Though all eyes were on its outcome, it was ‘too much talk, too little consensus’ at the All Party Meeting on Kashmir which the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh chaired at New Delhi on Wednesday.
Informed sources, who have been part of the crucial five-hour-long marathon meeting, said the points and counterpoints on certain ‘contentious issues’ marred its essence and it ultimately turned to be a damp squib, given the peoples’ expectations from the meet.
Sources said if there was consensus on anything, it was to “look into” what is happening in Kashmir and how the “vicious circle of civilian killings can end.”
What has played the spoilsport is the “divergent views” of the political leaders who have been part of the meeting, which was deemed to be quite “crucial.”
While the Bharitya Janata Party and Shiv Sena didn’t budge an inch from its stand of not diluting or amending the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), the National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party pitched for its partial or complete withdrawal. And, to some extent, the Left parties, and those from North-East areas, supported the AFSPA withdrawal.
“Since there were many views, the meeting was expected to be a damp squib,” said a political leader from Jammu and Kashmir, who attend today’s meeting. “The BJP remained stuck to its rhetoric that talks with any group in Kashmir must be held within the ambit of Indian constitution. Others too failed to evolve a consensus on the key questions pertaining to Kashmir and evolve a consensus on how to address the immediate crisis in the Valley, which is claiming civilian lives almost every day.”
Here are some of the sidelines of the meeting.
FAROOQ PREFERS SILENCE
Sources said Dr Farooq Abdullah chose not to speak in the meeting. Instead the senior National Conference leader, Muhammad Shafi Uri, expressed the party views, thrusting more on the historical aspect of Jammu and Kashmir than the present crisis.
OMAR’S PERFORMANCE NOT DISCUSSED
While the National Conference president, Dr Farooq Abdullah, told media persons in Delhi that the Prime Minister “praised” the Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah’s performance, sources asserted that Omar’s performance was not directly discussed in the meeting, and at no point in time did the PM praise Omar. “Omar’s performance was not on the agenda of the meeting. So why and how could the PM praise him, especially a day after New Delhi issued a press statement saying there was governance deficit in Jammu and Kashmir,” they said.
OWAISI URGED OMAR TO QUIT
Sources said the Member Parliament and chairman of Hyderabad-based All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen, Assadudin Owaisi minced no words in demanding the resignation of Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah. “Omar must step down. He has failed to come up to the expectations of the people of the state,” he told the members.
After this, Owaisi added, a political process must be started in the state to address the complex Kashmir issue.
Sources said Owaisi referred to an incident in Kashmir wherein the security forces had barred his journalist friend to take his wife to a Srinagar hospital. “Such is the situation in Kashmir,” he has said.
PDP PREZ TURNS EMOTIONAL
Sources said the Peoples Democratic Party president, Mehbooba Mufti, expressed the party views ‘quite emotionally.’ And if they are to be believed, many participants in turn turned emotional on hearing Mehbooba’s words, which specifically focussed on the Kashmir crisis. She demanded complete revocation of the AFSPA, release of youth detained under the Public Safety Act and an unconditional dialogue between New Delhi and separatists over the Kashmir issue resolution.
“We should look at Kashmir from the humanitarian angle and not make it a prestige issue. Kashmiris are suffering. People are getting killed. The Valley has been turned into a jail. All the leaders should rise about their political interests and come together and let’s all join hands and find solution to the complex Kashmir problem,” Mehbooba said. “We urged the Prime Minister to go for an unconditional dialogue with separatists and then move forward. All the youth detained under the Public Safety Act should be released and crackdown should be stopped. The curfew should be lifted. Let people see a more humane face of the country. We need to sit together with separatists and find a solution to the Kashmir issue.”
According to sources, the meeting disappointed many a leaders, including the National Conference president, Dr Farooq Abdullah, though he made a public statement that the meeting took place in a cordial atmosphere and he was not disappointed.
Sources however said Farooq’s disappointment surfaced in the backdrop of reports that Omar Abdullah may resign in case the meeting fails to yield any concrete result.
Lastupdate on : Wed, 15 Sep 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 15 Sep 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 16 Sep 2010 00:00:00 IST
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