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Kashmir civil society urges President Mukherjee to initiate dialogue

While advocating direct dialogue, the group has dismissed Track II initiatives, saying such processes have rarely yielded any results.

By: PTI | Srinagar |
September 8, 2016 2:52:30 pm
Protesters pick up stones to throws at an Indian police vehicle during a protest in Srinagar against the recent killings in Kashmir September 7, 2016. REUTERS/Danish Ismail Protesters pick up stones to throws at a police vehicle during a protest in Srinagar against the recent killings in Kashmir September 7, 2016. REUTERS/Danish Ismail

A civil society group in Jammu and Kashmir has written to President Pranab Mukherjee, seeking a “direct dialogue” with all stakeholders, including separatists, besides advocating repeal of laws like AFSPA and ban on the use of pellet guns as confidence building measures for starting talks.

While advocating direct dialogue, the group has dismissed Track II initiatives, saying such processes have rarely yielded any results. In a five-page letter to the President, the group comprising former bureaucrats, judges, top police officials, journalists and educationists sought his intervention to impress upon the Centre to hold talks for the resolution of the “Kashmir dispute”.

“We…implore and beseech Your Excellency, to impress upon the Government of India to initiate and announce direct, immediate, purposeful and result-oriented dialogue with all the stakeholders especially those with whom such dialogue has been held in 2004 and 2007 for a lasting solution of ‘Kashmir Dispute’ within a reasonable time frame,” the group said in the letter sent to the President on Wednesday.

“We sincerely believe that a lasting solution of the dispute through dialogue with all the stakeholders would be in the interest of people of the subcontinent in general and people of Jammu and Kashmir in particular,” they said. The group also said that Track II initiative have rarely yielded any results.

“The experience teaches us that, Track II initiatives are time-consuming, rarely yield any results and therefore not an option. Direct dialogue is the only way forward. An open dialogue with the representatives of those leading the ongoing movement and overall struggle for the realisation of political aspirations, without questioning the legitimacy of the leadership, is imperative. A confusion, grossly misplaced, is being created regarding the identity of those leading the ongoing movement and overall struggle for the realisation of political aspirations and therefore required to be associated with the proposed talks,” they said.

The civil society members said previous central governments headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh had held dialogue at the highest level with important stakeholders. “The Government of India should resume that process by restarting dialogue at that level and follow it up broad-based institutional mechanisms for a holistic and lasting solution,” they said while seeking a dialogue with all the stakeholders without any preconditions.

“Once the Prime Minister has signified his intention to initiate dialogue within the ambit of Insaniyat, a concept higher than any law and even Constitution, for a lasting solution of the dispute, there is no reason to make dialogue subject to any conditions,” it said.

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