A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi again reached out to the Valley, this time with the message of ekta (unity) and mamata (affection), government sources said an all-party delegation, led by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, will visit Jammu and Kashmir on September 4 and will meet a cross-section of people as part of a process to return normalcy.
There has been unrest in the Valley ever since the July 8 killing of militant Burhan Wani.
“The delegation is expected to visit Srinagar and Jammu on September 4, 5 and 6, and meet all those who are interested in restoring peace in the Valley,” a government source said Monday.
Asked if the delegation would meet separatists, the source said, “We cannot stop members of the delegation from meeting people they choose to, but a general consensus will be arrived at by all members of the delegation prior to the visit. The delegation will talk to anyone who wishes to discuss the issue within the framework of democracy and the Constitution.”
Before she met the Prime Minister Saturday, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, on her arrival in New Delhi Friday, had reached out to several Opposition leaders, including those who were close to her father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed such as JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav, requesting them to be part of the delegation.
On Sunday, Rajnath Singh had a meeting with BJP president Amit Shah, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and MoS in PMO Jitendra Singh. They discussed modalities of the all-party delegation and the groups and individuals the delegation could interact with.
On Monday, Rajnath Singh told CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury that the government planned to send an all-party delegation. “I was told that Mehbooba Mufti and Jitendra Singh were working out details of the visit,” Yechury said.
CPI leader D Raja said he too was contacted by the government. It is learnt that Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar will coordinate finalisation of the contours of the parliamentary delegation.
Sources said Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, had also been contacted and the party would depute a senior leader for the delegation.
BJD leader Bhartruhari Mahtab, who said his party had not yet been approached, had a different view on sending an all-party delegation at this juncture.
“The political leadership of Kashmir should be involved in a way to make them relevant there first. Only then, an all-party delegation from here can play some role. I do not see any point in sending an all-party delegation from here at this time,” Mahtab said.