Better late than never: Congress on Centre’s Kashmir outreachhttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/kashmir-unrest-curfew-burhan-wani-aftermath-better-late-than-never-congress-on-centres-kashmir-outreach-2996535/

Better late than never: Congress on Centre’s Kashmir outreach

The Congress said it was happy the government had seen reason in its demand to send an all-party delegation to J&K.

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The Congress asked BJP and the PDP— partners in the J&K government — to speak in one voice.

Hours after Home Minister Rajnath Singh announced that an all-party delegation would soon visit Jammu & Kashmir and that an alternative to pellet guns would be given in a few days, the Opposition Congress welcomed the Centre’s outreach and said the “hawkish stance” of the BJP government seemed to have “mellowed down”.

The Congress asked the government to initiate a “political dialogue” with all stakeholders with an “open mind”, and take all political parties into confidence as it initiates a process to reach out to people of the Valley.

“After 47 days of curfew, 68 people dead, over 6,000 injured, hundreds blinded or maimed because of the use of pellet guns, it is about time the Modi government woke up to the growing crisis in Kashmir. We will only say that it is better late than never,” Congress communication department head Randeep Surjewala said.

Arguing that the need of the hour is a “genuine public outreach” as the “time for playing parochial games is over”, he said the “hawkish stance of the Modi government seems to have mellowed down with the words and assurances of the Home Minister. If the Home Minister is willing to implement his words into action and reach out and heal wounds, we are certain that each one of the 125 crore Indians will welcome it,” he said. “There is too much at stake and risk.”

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The Congress, at the same time, asked BJP and the PDP— partners in the J&K government — to speak in one voice.

“They have been sending conflicting signals ever since the situation escalated, which has aggravated the problem. We need to move beyond hollow rhetoric… A political dialogue with all stakeholders with an open mind is suggested. Carrying along all political parties is the need of the hour,” Surjewala said.

The Congress said it was happy the government had seen reason in its demand to send an all-party delegation to J&K.

On the announcement on pellet guns, Surjewala said, “Home Minister has said he will find an alternative to pellet guns. We will welcome it if the government and the Home Minister take an initiative to find an alternative to pellet guns.”