CM calls for ceasefire, implementation of AoA; wants all-parties to meet PM

Sanjeev Pargal/Fayaz Bukhari

JAMMU/SRINAGAR, May 9: The All Party Meeting (APM) on Kashmir situation convened by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today called for making an appeal to the Centre to consider unilateral ceasefire in the Valley on pious occasions of Ramadhan, Eid and Shri Amarnath Ji yatra like Atal Behari Vajpayee did in 2000 and implementation of ‘Agenda of Alliance’ reached between the PDP and BJP at the time of formation of the Government.
Major Opposition, the National Conference, however, remained non-committal on sending all-party delegation to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying they would consult their leader (Omar Abdullah), who was on tour of Ladakh region, before conveying their decision.
On the other, the BJP called for taking strict action against the youths, who have again taken to stone pelting after availing one-time amnesty as it called for holding elections to Urban Local Bodies and Panchayats to empower the people, which, it said, was part of the `Agenda of Alliance’.
The meeting held at SKICC Srinagar lasted four and a half hours.
“Everyone agreed that we must appeal Centre that Government must think about a unilateral ceasefire on Ramadhan, Eid and Amarnath Ji pilgrimage like (Atal Behari) Vajpayee Ji did in 2000. Encounters and crackdowns are causing trouble to common man. Efforts must be made to maintain environment so that both Eid and Yatra are peaceful,” Mehbooba told reporters after the meeting. She was flanked by Deputy Chief Minister Kavinder Gupta and other PDP Ministers.
It may be recalled that Vajpayee as a head of NDA Government in 2000 had announced unilateral ceasefire but had to withdraw it after some time as it wasn’t responded well by the militants.
“Everyone also agreed that we should meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and express our concerns on how do we reach to the people in the context of his (the Prime Minister’s) August 15 statement to embrace the people of Kashmir,” Mehbooba said, adding that it was common man, who was suffering due to encounters and crackdowns and it would be good if some steps are taken during Ramadhan, Eid and Amarnath yatra.
Again, the Chief Minister said, everyone was concerned and expressed views over young children’s inclination towards gun and stone pelting, killing of a tourist and other factors of disturbed situation.
“But one good thing was there that all parties said that there was `Agenda of Alliance”-a visionary document, which has roadmap for dialogue, Confidence Building Measures, opening of cross-LoC routes, self-reliance, transfer of power projects, political resolution, reconciliation etc.
“All asked why it wasn’t being implemented. It can change situation. Everybody wanted implementation of the Agenda of Alliance,” she asserted.
Besides the Chief Minister, PDP representatives in the meeting included Works Minister Naeem Akhter, Law & Parliamentary Affairs Minister Basharat Bukhari, Dr Mehboob Beg and Nizam-ud-Din Bhat.
Earlier, speaking to All Party Meeting, Mehbooba termed peace as the ultimate yearning of every section of society in the State. She appealed all shades of opinion in joining this mission to get the State out of violence and bloodshed.
Chief Minister asked all shades of political opinion to rise above party politics and play their role in giving youth of the State a safe and secure future. “This is the concern of all of us because in peace lie the stakes of every section of society for which we all should strive jointly”, she said in her address.
Mehbooba underscored the need for apprising the national leadership and people of the country of the urgent need to reach out to the people of the State and listen to their story of pain and sufferings. She suggested constitution of an All Party Delegation to meet the Prime Minister and apprise the national leadership about the pain and sufferings of the people and take appropriate measures to minimize the same.
Terming Agenda of Alliance (AoA) as a visionary document, Mehbooba Mufti said the need of the hour is to go back to the document and seek its immediate implementation which she said holds key to the problems and issues confronting the State.
Ruling BJP, on the other, said it was the duty of Civil Society, teachers, parents and all political parties and organizations-both political and apolitical-to persuade the youth to shun militancy and stone pelting.
BJP State president and Minister for Housing and Urban Development Sat Sharma, who addressed the meeting, called for strict action against the youths, who again indulge in stone pelting despite availing amnesty as one-time pelters.
Speaking in presence of other BJP leaders including Deputy Chief Minister Kavinder Gupta, party general secretary, Dr Narinder Singh, Sunil Sethi and Arun Gupta, Sat Sharma took the stone pelters to task for killing a tourist and sending “very bad message” across the country.
Sat Sharma said: “we are representatives of the State Government and should set right the situation.” He added that the ‘Agenda of Alliance’ also pertained to development, working of the Government and empowering Panchayats and Municipalities, which is responsibility of the State Government.
Major Opposition, the National Conference, which was represented by Ali Mohammad Sagar, Mohammad Akbar Lone, Choudhary Mohammad Ramzan, Shamima Firdous and Abdul Majeed Larmi called for suspending `Operation All Out’, nocturnal raids and `human rights violations’.
On proposal of All Party Delegation’s visit to meet the Prime Minister, Sagar told the meeting that they would consult their leader on his return from Ladakh region and convey the decision to the Government.
Sagar called for talks with separatists and holding three-day Assembly session to discuss Kashmir situation.
Sagar said that NC leaders conveyed to the meeting that Centre was responsible for the current situation for not implementing the Agenda of Alliance. “Alienation has increased and New Delhi has turned a blind eye. Chief Minister is asking Centre to stop bloodshed, then who is running the State?”, he asked.
Sagar said that some vested interests had made it “Jammu verses Kashmir and Hindus verses Muslims” issue
PCC (I) president GA Mir, who was accompanied by Ghulam Nabi Monga, Usmaan Majeed and Taj Modi-ud-Din in the delegation, wondered that the PDP and BJP hadn’t even discussed their basic `Agenda of Alliance’, which was evident from today’s remarks of the Chief Minister.
Describing Mehbooba Mufti as “helpless”, Mir said she doesn’t want to give up the power even though the people weren’t with her.
“Delhi wasn’t on board with the State Government. The State had no solution to offer. The Chief Minister only expressed her helplessness,” Mir said.
National Panthers Party (NPP) president and former Minister Harshdev Singh raked up the demand for handing over Rassana rape-cum-murder of minor girl to CBI and stern action against militants and stone pelters. He cautioned the PDP-BJP Government headed by Mehbooba Mufti not to take the people of Jammu for granted. He said the PDP-BJP slogans of good governance and development have completely proved hollow.
Another NPP leader Balwant Singh Mankotia called for crushing anti-national forces with a heavy hand.
Harshdev Singh and NC leader Mohammad Akbar Lone had heated exchanges in the meeting as Singh called for registration of a case and disqualification of Lone from the Assembly for raising “pro-Pakistan slogan” in the House during budget session of the Assembly in February.
Harshdev also took Deputy Chief Minister Kavinder Gupta, who was then Speaker, to task for not disqualifying Akbar Lone from the Assembly.
Akbar Lone retaliated saying it was not the job of Harshdev to give him sermons and that he knows what to speak and what not.
CPI (M) leader M Y Tarigami said that participants wanted a political process to be started to bring situation to the normalcy. “We discussed to urge Prime Minister for a political outreach on Kashmir,” he said.
MLA Langate, Er Rashid said he told the meeting that there should be unilateral ceasefire for the next three months.
“If Centre is not listening then all parties should take a decision not to contest elections,” he said, adding that mainstream was in shambles.

*    Stop Operation All Out, hold talks with separatists: NC
*    Mehbooba helpless, doesn’t want to give up power: Cong
*    Harshdev, Akbar Lone clash at APM
*    Start political process: Tarigami