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All parties pitch for Ramzan ceasefire

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Mehbooba advocates urgent implementation of AoA; NC pleads for special Assembly session; Cong says, PDP-BJP government has no remedy to “bloodshed”

All parties pitch for Ramzan ceasefire

Srinagar, May 09: Terming peace as the ultimate yearning of every section of society in the state, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday said that Centre should consider a unilateral ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir starting from Ramzan in mid May till the completion of the Amarnath Yatra in August.

She made the remarks after chairing a four-hour-long all-party meeting, which was convened to discuss the present situation in the Kashmir Valley especially after a tourist from Chennai died due to stone pelting on May 07.

Mufti appealed to all shades of opinion in joining in the mission to get the state out of violence and bloodshed.

Talking to reporters after the meeting, she said, “Everyone (all parties) agreed that we should appeal to the Centre to consider a ceasefire like the unilateral ceasefire in (former PM Atal Bihari) Vajpayee’s time in Ramzan (later this month) till Amarnath Yatra and Eid.”

She said a ceasefire would provide relief to the people and help create a better atmosphere in the state.

“The centre should think on these lines so that the common people get some relief because they are facing many difficulties due of encounters, crackdowns and search operations,” she said.

“Now, Ramzan is starting, then (Amarnath) Yatra is taking place, so we should try to take such steps which restore the confidence of the people and a better atmosphere is created in which Eid is celebrated in a good way and Yatra also takes place well,” the Chief Minister said.

Mufti said many participants suggested taking an all-party delegation to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi to express concern over the situation and request him to implement what “he said on August 15 (last year) about embracing the people of the state, about how do we reach out to the people, especially the youth.”

“That is all that we have been able to build a consensus on so far,” Mufti said.

She said all the participants agreed that if the ‘Agenda of Alliance’ (AoA)– the common minimum programme between the PDP and the BJP – is implemented, the situation in the state can get better.

According to an official press release, earlier speaking at the all party meeting, the 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 Mufti 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.

Deputy Chief Minister, Kavinder Gupta also addressed the meeting and stressed on close cooperation between government and the opposition in tackling issues confronting the state.

The meeting was attended by ministers Syed Basharat Bukhari, Naeem Akhtar, Sat Sharma and leaders of different political parties in the state.

Works Minister and the government spokesman Naeem Akhtar said that the general feeling among the participants in all-party meet was that there should be a political outreach on Kashmir.

“The general feeling is that there should be a political outreach on Kashmir,” Akhtar told reporters at the SKICC. He said that almost all the participants mentioned the ‘Agenda of Alliance’ and the deficiencies in its implementation.

Akhtar said that the participants also called for the national leadership to take a leaf out of Vajpayee’s 2002 initiatives.

The all party meeting was called to discuss the security situation in the wake of recent militant and civilian killings in the Valley, especially in south Kashmir.

Earlier, the main opposition party,  the National Conference (NC), said just having meetings would serve no purpose and the need was to take steps which diffuse the situation.

“We told her (Mufti) that it was good that we did not participate in the all-party meeting of 2016 because it achieved no result till now. Such meets took place before also but there was no result as well,” NC general secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar, who led the opposition party’s delegation, said.

“If the chief minister wants to practically do something for diffusing the situation, diffusing the alienation among the people, then some steps have to be taken,” he said.

The NC leader also demanded a special session of the state’s legislature to discuss the prevailing situation in the Valley.

“They are having a special session of the Assembly tomorrow (for electing the Speaker). We demanded a three-day Assembly session so that representatives of people discuss the situation,” he said.

Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) president G A Mir said the PDP-BJP government had no remedy for stopping “this bloodshed”.

“We discussed the situation. Overall, we felt that the BJP and PDP have had no discussions between the state and the Centre over the implementation of the AoA. We felt that they have never had discussions on it, so how should we expect that they will make the situation better.

Independent legislator from north Kashmir’s Langate Assembly constituency, Sheikh Abdul Rashid, said government forces should stop all operations against the militants.

“I also told them …we will not contest elections,” he said. (With PTI inputs)

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