12 August : Still grappling with the Amarnath land row, the Centre has favoured engaging groups from Jammu as well as the Kashmir valley in talks to resolve the crisis, the Centre said no solution could be found without taking both the sides along.
At an all-party meeting chaired by Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil, it was felt that all the groups concerned from Jammu as well as the Kashmir valley should work for restoring peace and normalcy in the sensitive border state.
"The Government will take steps to engage all the groups concerned from Jammu as well as the Kashmir valley in talks so that the issues could be resolved amicably to the satisfaction of all concerned," Patil told reporters after the over three-hour meeting in New Delhi on Tuesday.
The two rounds of talks by leaders of the parties which visited Jammu and Srinagar over the weekend failed to arrive at a consensus with no commonality in various suggestions made by them.
The Home Minister said several options were suggested at Tuesday’s meeting, like initiating the dialogue process by inviting representatives of both Jammu and Kashmir regions in New Delhi, sending a delegation to the state, or the Centre constituting a committee to start the talks.
The four-member committee constituted by Governor N N Vohra can also initiate a dialogue.
Patil said all necessary steps have been taken to ensure uninterrupted movement of vehicles on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway.
He said there was no blockade on the highway and other parts of the country, and there was no obstacle in the way of movement of fruits and other items. "Therefore, there is no reason for agitation on this issue."
"Besides, more facilities will be provided to the Amarnath pilgrims by both the Central as well as the State governments and there was no objection from any quarter," he said.
The Home Minister also appealed to the people of Jammu and Kashmir to remain calm and help the authorities to restore peace.
"I wish wisdom and goodwill prevail in Jammu and Kashmir and peace restored," he said.
Asked to comment about prevailing situation in the state following the death of several people in the past two days, Patil said the Centre was "watching the situation."
"We will leave no stone unturned to solve the present crisis," he said.
On possibility of the Hurriyat Conference participating in any future talks with the Government, Patil said the amalgam did take part in two rounds of dialogue with the Prime Minister but later refused to participate in the process.
"The policy of the Government is not to deny anyone one’s right to express," he said.
The Home Minister said the move of a section of people in the valley to "forcefully" transport fruits to Pakistan- occupied Kashmir (PoK) was "not appropriate" as Islamabad and New Delhi were yet to make any agreement on cross-LoC trade.
National women’s delegation visits Jammu to assess situation
A women’s delegation representing various national organisations on Tuesday took stock of the situation in Jammu, which has been marred by protests over the land transfer issue.
The members held discussions with Divisional Commissioner Sudhanshu Pandey who apprised them of efforts being made by the administration to bring peace and normalcy in the region.
The peace delegation apprised Pandey of their meetings with Shri Amarnath Sangarsh Samiti (SASS), which is leading the agitations, and their visit to Muslim and Hindu dominated localities in the region.
They assured that the observations reached during the visit would be communicated to "people in responsible positions".
Pandey said politicisation of the issue has further deteriorated the situation with unscrupulous elements exploiting it.
On incidents of violence against Gujjars, Pandey said the people of the community were targeted in Samba and Jammu by agitators and the victims were provided compensation.
The delegation demanded immediate compensation for families of those killed, whose houses have been burned and also whose trucks have been damaged in the agitation.
Regarding the role of media, the women delegates appealed to fourth estate to observe restraint and shun any thing that could provoke conflict.
The delegation included Mohini Giri (from Guild of Service), Jyotsna Chatterji (Joint Women’s Programme), Annie Raja (National Federation of Indian Women), Afroz (War Widows Association), Subhashini Ali (All India Democratic Women’s Association) and Veenabehn (Akhil Bharatiya Rachnatmak Samaj), among others. Courtsey DDINEWS