With the Ramadan here and the Amarnath Yatra starting next month, an all-party meeting Wednesday urged the Centre to “consider” announcing ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir.
Emerging from a marathon meeting attended by all mainstream parties, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said: “The consensus of all was that we should appeal to the Government of India to consider, on the eve of Ramadan and Amarnath Yatra, the unilateral ceasefire… The way (Atal Bihari) Vajpayee did a unilateral ceasefire in 2000… the Government of India should think on those lines so that people get relief.”
With BJP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Kavinder Gupta by her side, Mufti said: “Crackdowns are happening, encounters are happening and search operations are happening, people are facing a lot of hardship. And now it is the month of Ramadan and the Amarnath Yatra is starting, we should make efforts to take steps that restore the confidence of people here”.
Kavinder Gupta told The Indian Express that his party’s stand was “what the Chief Minister said”.
But state BJP chief spokesperson Sunil Sethi had a different view. “Our point of view is that a ceasefire at this stage will not solve the problem. Rather it will aggravate it as the Army has an upper hand at the moment. We have cornered the militants and this breathing period will be used by them to regroup.’’
While leaders from other parties took on the PDP-BJP government over its “failure to implement” the Agenda of Alliance, there was consensus on the need for the Centre to announce an unilateral ceasefire.
“We have put this (ceasefire) demand in the meeting,” National Conference leader Ali Mohammad Sagar said. “If they (government) have to improve the situation here, they will have to do it (announce unilateral ceasefire)”.
The Congress too supported the unilateral ceasefire demand: “All Opposition parties said about it (ceasefire). We had said it in the previous all-party meeting as well that there should be unilateral ceasefire as happened previously.”
The meeting that lasted over four hours also recommended that an all-party delegation from Jammu and Kashmir meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The National Conference, however, is yet to take a final call on this and will decide only after its senior leaders consult each other.
“My people suggested that we should together meet the Prime Minister and apprise him of our concerns as far as the situation in Jammu and Kashmir is concerned,” Chief Minister Mufti said. “We should request the Prime Minister to implement what he said in his August 15 speech — where he talked about hugging the people of Jammu and Kashmir.”
On the failure to implement the Agenda of Alliance, she said: “All parties said it has not been implemented. Because they see a roadmap in it, whether it is the question of dialogue, confidence-building measures, opening of roads, economic self-reliance or transfer of power projects, whether it is about political resolution or reconciliation. We have to acknowledge that implementation of the Agenda of Alliance can vastly improve the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.”