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Talk To ‘Non-State Political Parties’ In Kashmir, Congress To Centre

NEW DELHI: With the Centre initiating fresh steps to end the cycle of violence that has gripped Jammu and Kashmir, the Congress party in the opposition has pitched for a dialogue with all stakeholders in the state including protesting students and non-state political parties.

“We hope that Home Minister Rajnath Singh not only talks with political parties. There are others as well, non-state political parties and other stakeholders. He should talk with students, trade unions and different communities in Jammu and Kashmir. There should be peace now,” senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said today.

The opposition has accused the government of not making more serious efforts to bring peace through dialogue in the state. Mr Azad said no one from the government, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had appealed for peace.

“He should appeal for peace as well. I have never seen any minister, or even the Prime Minister, appeal for peace neither inside or outside the parliament nor in Kashmir. Least they can do is to appeal,” Mr Azad added criticizing the Centre.

As part of the Centre’s new outreach, Home Minister Rajnath Singh visited Jammu and Kashmir yesterday for the second time in just a month.

The Janata Dal (United) also said that it would be closely watching the next step the government takes.

“I am happy that Home Minister Rajnath Singh has finally understood that there is a need to begin a political engagement with Jammu and Kashmir. What is the kind of engagement that would be planned so that the current impasse and sense of alienation, particularly amongst the youth, and the current involvement of Pakistan in Kashmir can be stemmed? We need to carefully watch the next step that this government take,” JD(U) senior leader Pavan Verma said.

Protests broke out in Jammu and Kashmir after the killing of a Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist, Burhan Wani by security forces on July 8. Since then 69 people have died and over 10000 have been injured, including security forces in violent protests.