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Yashwant Sinha led Track-II team to visit Kashmir again

During their earlier visit, Sinha led delegation had met a cross section of people including Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, Prof Abdul Gani Bhat
File Pix : Yashwant Sinha delegation meeting Syed Ali Shah Geelani

The Track-II delegation led the senior BJP leader  Yashwant Sinha is visiting Kashmir again over the weekend to take forward their engagement with the separatists and the civil society to defuse the current crisis. The delegation is likely to include all the previous members besides a one or two more.

The delegation that visited the state earlier comprised former Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah, ex-Air Vice Marshal Kapil Kak, journalist Bharat Bhushan and the activist Sushobha Barve. Many civil society groups and the journalists have already been invited for a meeting with the delegation.

During their earlier visit, Sinha led delegation had met a cross section of people including Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, Prof Abdul Gani Bhat. The delegation had also met the Governor N N Vohra and the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. The visit was a moderate success as soon after State Government released JKLF supremo Yasin Malik from jail.

Later, the delegation submitted a detailed report to the home minister Rajnath Singh which called on the central government to engage with all the stake holders for dialogue to establish peace in the Kashmir Valley.

“In terms of agenda of alliance (between PDP and BJP), dialogue process must be initiated with all stakeholders so that peace can be restored,” Sinha said.

“Kashmiris believe that today Indian politics has taken such a turn that there is no willingness to listen to even demands for autonomy. Today, Kashmir issue is being seen as Hindu versus Muslim, and governance seen as Jammu versus Kashmir,” the group said in a six-page report, submitted to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh Tuesday.

The delegation sent a copy of the report to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, urging her government in the state to start the process of reopening schools and release all first-time offenders, schoolchildren and minors arrested under the Public Safety Act.

The delegation has also sought a ban on the use of pellet guns “with immediate effect as a crowd control weapon”. “This will have salutary impact on the Kashmiris,” the report stated adding the ban is not “something that should be left to committees or security forces”.

Besides, the report had also called on the government to work with the media owners “not to escalate the situation”. “Educate the media owners about the sensitive nature of Kashmir issue and not add fuel to the fire in search of viewers and the revenue,” the report stated.

On their first visit, every member had paid for their own visit. “No security or financial help was accepted from any institution or government body to ensure that the integrity of the group as the concerned citizens was maintained”.

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