As Kashmir witnessed a sudden flare-up in violence, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) today put off any decision on contentious issues like Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and called an all-party meeting on Wednesday to discuss the volatile situation.
The CCS meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, expressed distress over the "turn of events" in the valley since Saturday and signalled its intention to restart dialogue with all sections of the state, saying it is the only way forward to find an "honourable and lasting solution".
The CCS appealed to the people of Kashmir, especially the youth, to refrain from violent protests as it expressed grief over the loss of lives in the three-month-long unrest.
An official statement issued after the three-hour long meeting, however, made no mention to the AFSPA.
The CCS meeting had set off speculation that the government could consider partial withdrawal of the AFSPA as demanded by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.
"The UPA government has always held the belief that dialogue and discussion is the only way forward to find an honourable and lasting solution," a statement issued after the marathon three-hour-long meeting said.
"The CCS reiterates government's intention to restart the process of dialogue with different sections of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Towards this end, the CCS has decided to convene a meeting of all political parties at New Delhi on Wednesday... and elicit their views on the way forward," it said.
Hours before the meeting, the Prime Minister voiced concern over the unrest in the valley and sought to reach out to the people there, saying their "grievances" have to be addressed.
He promised talks within the Indian Constitution with those who abjure violence.
Singh emphasised the need for better delivery of services and generating avenues for economic advancement of the people of the state.