Kashmir discussed at pro-BJP think tank meet? Ram Madhav says no

  • Toufiq Rashid and Ravi Krishnan Khajuria, Hindustan Times, Srinagar/ Jammu
  • Updated: Aug 08, 2016 00:19 IST
Kashmiri children go for tuition as a soldier stands guard during a curfew in Srinagar on Saturday. (Waseem Andrabi/HT Photo)

The month-long unrest in Kashmir after the killing of a militant commander figured at the conclave of India Foundation, a pro-BJP think-tank, at Patnitop on Sunday, though the party denied having the issue on the agenda.

The BJP national general secretary, Ram Madhav, tweeted that Kashmir was not discussed during the two-day meet which concluded on Sunday.

“No kite flying,” posted Madhav on Twitter. “Young Thinkers Meet held at Patnitop is an annual event. Nothing to do with Kashmir issue except the venue is the state.”

Jammu and Kashmir BJP president Sat Sharma, although he was not at the conclave, said as much.

“It’s not an official BJP meeting. It’s a meet for young people. Yes, some leaders are attending, but there is nothing official about it,” he said.

Read: Posters warn Kashmiri Pandits to leave valley or ‘face death’

But a source claimed that delegates discussed an array of issues confronting the country, and the Kashmir situation also figured. Details, however, were not known.

Madhav apparently briefed the participants about steps being taken by the PDP-BJP government to restore peace in the Valley, which has been on the boil since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen leader Burhan Wani.

The BJP conclave at Patnitop, a tourist destination 112km from Jammu, gave wind to reports that the Narendra Modi government was exploring contours of a new “Kashmir outreach” programme as the unrest in the Valley showed no signs of abating.

The meeting attended by senior leaders, including Union minister MJ Akbar and members of the RSS, the BJP’s ideological mentor, further fueled speculation of an “unofficial Track Two initiative” for Kashmir.

The Opposition and social groups had criticized the Centre and the state government for its silence on the stir in which at least 57 people have lost their lives and more than 3,000 were wounded.

Read: One month on, Kashmir remains caught between curfew and shutdown

Chief minister Mehbooba Mufti’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said it was unaware of any “outreach” programme that its coalition partner may have conceived. Party spokesman Nayeem Akhtar reaffirmed the stated line that a “dialogue is essential”.

“Dialogue is sacred. PDP has been born out of the idea of dialogue. We have been saying from the beginning that a dialogue with all the stakeholders is essential,” Akhtar said.

Separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, from the moderate Hurriyat faction, accused the central government of being insensitive towards Kashmir.

“We are at the receiving end, the killings are happening. The government is anti-people, they are not doing anything. There have not reigned in the security forces, there is no ban on pellets, no inquiry has been initiated,” he said.

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