Reacting to the Centre’s decision to call a meeting of members of the all-party delegation that will be visiting Jammu and Kashmir tomorrow, Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Saturday said there should not be any preconditions for the talks and the government should open a political dialogue with all the stakeholders in the state.
“The point we are very clear, like the Prime Minister also said, that we should open the political dialogue with all the stakeholders. There should not be any preconditions for the talks. We should hear all the stake holders. And, we would insist on that at the meeting by the government,” Yechury told ANI.
“We had asked for the all-party delegation, and the Government of India finally agreed after two months. It has come, we think, late in the day but nevertheless, good that it has come. We do not know what is the agenda or the programme of the delegation so far. The government may inform at the all-party meeting,” he added.
At the meeting chaired by the Union Home Minister, about 30 Members of Parliament, who will visit Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday, will be briefed the contours of the visit.
During the preparatory meeting, the MPs will be given a presentation on the issue by top officials of the Home Ministry.
During the two-day visit, the MPs will interact with Governor NN Vohra and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, and will also be holding meetings with representatives of all political parties and other delegations in Srinagar to bring peace in the restive Valley.
With Kashmir separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani asking the stakeholders not to meet the Centre’s all-party delegation, the CPM general secretary said, “We are declaring our intention. On behalf of the Indian Parliament, we understand and we share the agonies and sympathise with the people of Kashmir, and we want to hear the issues that need to be resolved. There is a trust deficit, which must be removed. For that we are going. Our intention is very clear, we want to remove that trust deficit and to ensure there is normalcy and innocent loss of lives, particularly of youth, does not continue.”
As the Centre announced a special package of Rs. 200 crore to engage youth of Jammu and Kashmir in constructive sporting activities, Yechury said, “First of all trust deficit has to overcome. Over the last 70 years, thousands of crores of rupees have gone, but still trust deficit is there. So address the trust deficit first. That is the important issue and that is what we want to do.”
The Centre’s package provides for construction of indoor sporting halls in all districts of the state to provide playing facilities to youth during long winter. Under the package, two stadiums in Srinagar and Jammu will be upgraded to the international standards, while existing stadiums in Poonch, Rajouri and Udhampur will also be upgraded.
Besides, water sport facilities will also be provided at an estimated cost of six crore rupees. A special programme ‘Sports for AII’ is being implemented through Jammu and Kashmir State Sports Council for immediate engagement of youth in sporting activities by organising village level competitions and development of popular sports, while five crore rupees have already been provided to the council for organising these activities.
Union Ministers Arun Jaitley, Dr. Jitendra Singh and Ram Vilas Paswan will also be part of the delegation, besides leader of the opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad and his Lok Sabha colleague Mallikarjun Kharge.
Besides JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav, CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury, CPI leader D. Raja, NCP’s Tariq Anwar and TMC’s Saugata Roy will be the part of the delegation.
The valley is facing unrest due to protests in the aftermath of the killing of terrorist Burhan Wani on July 8.