New Delhi should consider Ramadhan ceasefire in Kashmir: CM
Srinagar, Apr 9: Amid unabated violence in Kashmir, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti Wednesday convened an all-party meeting here to discuss the situation in the state.
Sources said that the all-party meeting decided to push for a “Ramadhan ceasefire” proposal within the state and across the border with Pakistan, along the lines of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s initiative in 2003.
Sources said that participants stressed that an inclusive engagement of all parties is needed to carry forward the peace and reconciliation process.
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti expressed her concern about the deteriorating situation in the Valley. “The issues of Kashmir are old but I am more concerned about the prevailing situation as we are losing young lives,” she said at the meeting.
Sources said that the Chief Minister expressed her concern about the killing of tourist “it was unfortunate that the tourist was killed. Such incidents spoil our image and do a serious damage to the tourism industry,” the CM has said.
Sources said that Chief Minister also said that it is important to revive the dialogue process. “My government will act as a facilitator if tangible steps are taken to reach out to all the stakeholders,” sources quoting CM said.
The meeting was called to discuss the security situation in the Valley. On Saturday, three militants were killed in Srinagar’s Chattabal area and a teenager was run over by a police vehicle. On Sunday, five militants and five civilians were killed in a gunfight in Shopian. A tourist from Chennai was killed during stone-pelting in Baramulla on Monday.
One of the participants said that the all-party meeting discussed a Ramadhan ceasefire along the lines of Vajpayee’s initiative to stop violence in Jammu and Kashmir. “The basic idea was to make Ramadhan as peaceful as possible and hopefully start a new dialogue,” the leader added.
He said that the meeting pushed for dialogue within and beyond the state with Pakistan.
Four members of National conference also attended the meeting.
Other parties including Congress, BJP, CPI (M), Peoples Conference, PDF and others attended the five-hour long meeting.
Mehbooba Mufti has come under strong criticism after 16 people, including eight militants; seven civilians and a tourist were killed in separate incidents of violence in the past four days.
Sources said that the general feeling conveyed by the participants was that there is a need for a “political outreach”. “Everyone in the meeting felt there was a need for a political outreach and the national leadership must adopt Vajpayee’s approach,” a source in the PDP said.
Meanwhile talking to reporters after the all-party meeting concluded at SKICC, Mehbooba said: “It was the unanimous decision of all parties during the meeting that the Government of India should consider ceasefire during Ramadhan.”
She said that there was consensus among all political parties that there should be a Ramadhan ceasefire like the one announced during the time of then prime minister Atal BihariVajpayee.
She said that an all-party delegation would also meet the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss the outreach.
PDP senior leader and R&B minister Nayeem Akhter said that that the general feeling among the participants in all-party meeting was that there should be a political outreach on Kashmir.
“The general feeling is that there should be a political outreach on Kashmir,” Akhtar told reporters at the SKICC.
Engineer Rashid, the chief of Awami Ittehad Party after the All Party Meet, said that during the holy month of Ramadhan, Government of India should announce a unilateral ceasefire and stop anti-militancy operations.
Talking to reporters at SKICC in Srinagar where an all-party meeting chaired by Mehbooba Mufti is underway, Rasheed said that the anti-militancy operations should be stopped forthwith to end the bloodshed in the Valley.
“I demanded unilateral ceasefire in Ramadhan and all anti-militancy operations should be stopped,” Rasheed said. He said that Mehbooba Mufti should quit if Delhi doesn’t listen to her. “We will support her,” he said. (KNS)