A twenty-seven-member all-party delegation to Kashmir was finalised on Thursday.
Home minister Rajnath Singh and finance minister Arun Jaitley will lead the delegation that will reach the Valley on September 4.
Junior minister in the Prime Minister’s office and MP from Jammu, Jitendra Singh, will also be a part of the team that will comprise of leaders like CPM chief Sitaram Yechury, leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, head of AIMIM Asaduddin Owaisi and JDU president Sharad Yadav.
Three days before the delegation leaves for the Valley, Yechury said the Centre must ensure the trip “doesn’t turn into a mere photo-op”.
Yechury had met separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani in 2010 when the UPA government sent a team amid clashes between civilians and security forces.
He said, “I have insisted that talks must take place with all stakeholders, including Hurriyat leaders. The government must make it clear (sic) what is the agenda of the visit and what do we want to achieve?”
The CPI(M) leader also wants the Centre to lay the ground for talks by “formally inviting all stakeholders through letters” for a dialogue with the delegation led by home minister Rajnath Singh.
Defending his demand to meet the separatists when the Centre had stayed away from involving the Hurriyat leadership from talks on Kashmir, Yechury said, “If I talk to Geelani, it doesn’t mean I am going to accept his arguments. Last time also, he said what he felt right and I said what I thought to be correct.”