The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) on Monday put off an announcement on its blueprint for peace in J&K due to a lack of consensus on the set of proposals, instead focussing on another dialogue offer that promised to address all issues agitating the minds of young Kashmiris including the “trust deficit” and “governance deficit”.
There was no word on allowing the state government to take some districts in J&K out of the purview of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, a key component of the peace blueprint drafted by the Home Minister P. Chidambaram.
But there were indications the government wanted to bounce off the blueprint — discussed by the top security panel — with political parties at an all party meeting on September 15 to build political consensus.
“Government hopes that following the all party meeting, it would be able to engage the people… and also take certain initiatives and measures that will build confidence among the people of J&K,” said an official statement by the Prime Minister’s Office issued at the end of the three-hour long meet chaired by PM Manmohan Singh.
The BJP has already made its opposition to dilution or withdrawal of AFSPA known. Backing the armed forces that oppose any change, the party said the separatists would not be pacified with concessions.
Government sources said the fresh round of violence in J&K beginning last weekend had created difficulties in the task of building consensus within the government and outside on AFSPA.
The CCS reiterated the government’s conviction that “dialogue and discussion” was the only way forward, recalled its efforts in this direction that “did yield some results” and emphasised the UPA’s intent to “restart the process of dialogue”.
“The dialogue can embrace all the issues that agitate the minds of the people of J&K, especially the youth… can address issues such as the trust deficit and the governance deficit,” it said.
This is the first time that the cabinet committee has acknowledged the rust deficit between the people of Srinagar and the Centre and sought to address this issue.
Government sources said the “governance deficit”, on the other hand, echoed views at the Cabinet Committee on Security meet and last week’s Congress core group that took a dim view — of the performance of the Omar Abdullah-led coalition government in the state.
Omar Abdullah had been nudging the Centre for a political package for the state; the J&K Chief Minister met Chidambaram and Congress president Sonia Gandhi ahead of the Cabinet Committee on Security meeting.
Government sources recalled it had taken at least two review meetings at the prime minister’s level that advised the
chief minister to step in politically that some initial steps were taken to fill the political vacuum.