National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah on Wednesday welcomed the visit of a five-member delegation led by senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha to Valley to break the nearly four-month-long impasse and expressed hope the move would help in addressing Kashmir issue. “NC feels that the delegation headed by Sinha is a welcome move because it is a first step that someone has made an attempt to take Kashmir out of this morass. We all pray to God to make this attempt successful so that we come out of this difficult phase,” Abdullah said.
The five-member delegation on Tuesday called on separatist leaders, including, the chairmen of both factions of Hurriyat – Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.
The former Union Minister expressed hope that such meetings with the separatists would continue to address the Kashmir issue.
“I hope this is not just a one-off meeting. Rather, this should go on to try to resolve this (Kashmir) issue,” he said.
Meanwhile, NC on Wednesday organized a protest rally from its headquarter Nawai-Subh to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s residence at Gupkar against the state government’s “deep slumber”.
“We have time and again warned the Government, in board meetings or rallies. We met the state Governor, the Prime Minister, the President and time and again we mentioned some things that these things should stop,” party general secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar told reporters.
He said since the last nearly four months, “everything is closed here, people are trapped in their houses, whole Kashmir has been turned into a jail-room”.
He claimed that “9000 people have been arrested and around 850-900 have been booked under Public Safety Act (PSA).
“And, for the first time the small kids are being made victims of politics, it was announced to hold examinations in such a situation when it is impossible because these kids are unable to come out so how come common children can come out? Against this we have said that excesses are being committed against them,” he said.
Sagar said the government has now made employees victims of politics.
“They are being arrested, dismissed, they are small fourth class, poor employees. For these two-three things (we are protesting) and we had said that those arrested should be released.
“Seventeen Fridays, and now 18th is coming, there have been no prayers at Jamia Masjid (in Srinagar). This is I think first Government in whole India where there was curfew even on Eid day and no prayers were offered in mosques and shrines. So, in this regard, we held a protest today,” he said.
The NC leader said the party has already spoken about resolving Kashmir issue and “that’s being carried forward. So, we hope that this Government, which is in very deep slumber, will wake up”.
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