Centre mulling political initiative in Kashmir

Srinagar, Oct 15: After restoring mobile phone connectivity in the Valley on Monday, the Jammu and Kashmir administration is now working on a mechanism to initiate political engagement which is likely to involve mainstream political parties.

The move is expected to lead to the release of more political leaders from detention though a decision releasing former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti is not on the table yet, Indian Express reported on Tuesday.

 

Quoting sources, the report said the Centre was keen on beginning political dialogue within the Valley to bridge the trust deficit between the state administration and Kashmiris following the August 5 decision to scrap the state’s special status and bifurcate J&K into Union Territories.

The political mechanism currently under discussion is likely to involve second-rung leaders from regional parties in the Valley to form a political council that can initiate dialogue with people and assuage their fears in the wake of the August 5 decisions, report said.

Part of this council’s mandate is alleviating the sense of alienation and anger in the Valley. Also on the table are certain special provisions that will protect local jobs and the settlement of outsiders in the Valley in order to protect its demographic character and culture.

“Delhi is keen on initiating political engagement. The contours of it are still under discussion. Among the ideas is involvement of the existing political class which as of now does not include the Muftis and the Abdullahs,” the report quoted a senior official privy to the developments.

“Gradual release of significant political actors will be taken in the weeks to come. The Home Minister has already said that statehood will be returned. A decision on who these political actors will be is yet to be taken,” the report added.

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