On the second day of his two-day visit to Srinagar, home minister Rajnath Singh met political leaders even as large parts of the Valley remained under curfew-like restrictions for the 16th consecutive day on Sunday.
Sources said Singh met top PDP leaders in the morning. Later, he also met National Conference leader and former chief minister Omar Abdullah and BJP leaders. But the Congress chose not to meet Singh.
The home minister also interacted with civil society members in an effort to find a way out of the latest round of violence to convulse Kashmir.
Speaking to the media after the meeting, Abdullah said that Jammu and Kashmir needs a political solution and not economic packages.
“We have told home minister to open dialogue with all stake holders of the state and also said that there should be a stop to excessive use of force, relaxation in curfew and also mobile internet should be restored, “ said the former CM.
He added that the response of Rajnath Singh was positive.
Singh landed in Srinagar at around noon on Saturday, accompanied by a team of senior home ministry officials and directors-general (DGs) of central paramilitary forces. He met governor NN Vohra and chief minister Mehbooba Mufti late on Saturday.
Government sources said that Singh met a few entrepreneurs, houseboats owners, clerics, Sikh, Pandit community members and common people on Saturday as he took stock of the situation in the Valley that has been rocked by unrest since the elimination of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani earlier this month.
However, several trade bodies including the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) snubbed the home minister and opted out of their meeting.
Trade body officials told Hindustan Times that they decided to stay away because in the past a number of such meetings have yielded no results and “killings of Kashmiris have continued”.
Mushtaq Ahmad Wani, president of the KCCI, accused security forces of human rights violation.
He said trade bodies have demanded that security officials should be made accountable for the killing of civilians and pellet guns be banned.
“Zero steps have been taken by the government in the past, especially in 2010 when more than 100 young people were killed. Even if we had met the home minister what could we have said apart from only one thing: please stop the killings,” said Ashraf Mir, president of the Federation of Commerce and Industry in Kashmir.