Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday said Jammu and Kashmir was an integral part of the country and hoped that the dialogue and policy initiatives announced by the government will end the present unrest in the state.
"Jammu and Kashmir has a special place in our polity. It is an integral part of India and peace in this region is of paramount importance. While violence is not a solution and must be contained, the anger manifesting itself among the Kashmiri youth in particular must also be addressed. We must respect their legitimate aspirations," Gandhi said in her letter to the party members in the latest issue of party mouthpiece Sandesh.
Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah's remarks in the assembly earlier this month that the state had acceded to India and not merged with it had created a controversy, with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) demanding his immediate resignation.
The Congress, which is an alliance partner of Abdullah's party National Conference (NC) in the state, had said after his statement that the state was an integral part of the country and will remain so.
Gandhi said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had taken effective steps to reach out by calling an all-party meeting in Delhi which was followed by visit of a delegation led by home minister P Chidambaram to the state which met groups in both Srinagar and Jammu.
"We hope that continued dialogue and concrete policy initiatives which were announced by the government Sep 4 will lead to an end to the ongoing cycle of violence," Gandhi said.
Referring to the violence and tension in the state in the past few months, Gandhi said the situation has risen after many years of stability and successful democratic elections in the state.