PM to discuss Kashmir situation with state leaders


New Delhi : Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will review the violence-hit situation in Kashmir Valley and the ways to restore normalcy there when he meets the leaders of political parties of Jammu and Kashmir here Tuesday, official sources said.

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The meeting will be held at the residence of Manmohan Singh – 7, Race Course Road – at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

“The meeting will be a follow-up of the all-party meeting convened by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah in Srinagar on July 11,” a state government official told IANS.

Omar Abdullah and his father and union Minister Farooq Abdullah, state Congress chief Saifuddin Soz and Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislature party chief Ashok Khajuria, J&K National Panther’s Party (J&K NPP) chief Bhim Singh and legislator Harshdev Singh and Communist Party of India-Marxist MLA Muhammed Yusuf Tarigami are among the leaders expected to attend the meet.

However, the main opposition party – People’s Democratic Party (PDP)- led by Mehbooba Mufti has said it would not attend the meet. The PDP had boycotted the July 11 Srinagar meet also, saying a meeting “led by Omar Abdullah would serve no purpose”.

The J&K NPP, which had also boycotted the Srinagar meet, has decided to attend the Tuesday meeting as “it will be chaired by the PM and not the unpopular chief minister”, party chief Bhim Singh told IANS.

Besides the prime minister, Home Minister P. Chidambaram, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon are likely to attend the meet, sources said.

The state’s leaders will present the prime minister a copy of the resolution adopted at the Srinagar meeting and seek his intervention in solving the problems faced by the people.

The state leaders are likely to urge the centre to ensure sufficient supply of foodgrains, medicines and other essentials during Ramadan, the Muslim fasting month, beginning Wednesday.

A resolution adopted at the Srinagar meeting had urged the prime minister to “give a fillip to internal and external dialogue”.

The meeting had asked the state government to institute an independent inquiry into the killing of civilians in the Valley. However, the BJP had disassociated from this decision. A few days later, the state government ordered the inquiry.

The Srinagar meeting had also called upon people to “help in restoration of peace and normalcy in the state”.

Kashmir had been hit by a cycle of violence since June 11, with 50 civilians killed, mostly in firing by security forces on stone-pelting street protesters. Normal life has been severely affected with curfew imposed by the authorities and daily shutdowns called by the separatists.