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J&K unrest: Yashwant team suggests talks with Hurriyat

NEW DELHI, Jan 9:
A Yashwant Sinha-led civil society panel has suggested “improving” the human rights situation in Jammu and Kashmir and initiate talks with all stakeholders including separatist groups like Hurriyat Conference.
The Concerned Citizen Group (CCG) had made another set of recommendations after their second visit to the Kashmir Valley last month– that included urgent psychological counselling for minor detainees.
The panel had first visited the Valley in October after which it had recommended an immediate ban on use of pellet guns by security forces.
The Centre has distanced itself from the panel, led by the BJP leader, which also comprises former chief information commissioner Wajahat Habibullah and Programme Director of Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation Sushobbha Barve.
In the fresh set of recommendations compiled after their visit to the Kashmir Valley last month, the panel said there is a need for improving “the human rights situation in Kashmir and encourage more humane attitude by the security forces with the public”.
The panel went to Budgam, Shopian, Anantnag and Baramulla towns and met representatives of the minority Shia and Sikh communities and political leaders like former chief minister Farooq Abdullah, Independent MLA Abdul Rashid alias ‘Rashid Engineer’ and Congress leader Saifuddin Soz.
“Urgent psychological counselling to be provided to minors being released from detentions. We suggest that a plan for counselling is put in place for this; based on the experience of similar efforts in 2010,” the panel recommended.
While keeping talks between India and Pakistan out of its purview because it was “contingent upon several other issues”, the panel reminded the BJP-PDP coalition government of its commitment for holding talks with all the stakeholders including the Hurriyat.
“We recommend that such a multi-dimensional dialogue is initiated at the earliest. As for an India-Pakistan dialogue, it is contingent upon several other issues,” it said.
On the economic front, it recommended that government agencies designed to promote tourism, industry and agriculture production should look for disinvestment and private investments, through design of suitable projects and finance, should be promoted.
The panel also recommended allowing of assemblies and meetings of people for holding discussions on subjects that are of concern to the common Kashmiris and for free expression or ideas and views.
Highlighting that “all the Commissioners of the J&K State Information Commission have retired and are not yet replaced”, the panel suggested such issues should be addressed as it advocated “resuscitating democratic linkages between the government and the citizenry”. (PTI)

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