An all-party delegation will visit Srinagar on September 4 in the wake of the recent unrest in Kashmir Valley where 70 people have died in clashes between security forces and protesters after the death of a militant commander last month, sources said on Monday.
The team will be led by home minister Rajnath Singh. The decks appeared to have cleared for a meeting between Kashmiri separatists and the delegation, as the Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir government reached an understanding that such an engagement won’t be discouraged.
In Kashmir, curfew was lifted from most parts on Monday -- after 51 consecutive days of lockdown and subsequent clashes in the aftermath of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani’s death on July 8.
However, schools, colleges and quite a few business establishments were closed and public transport was off the roads to a bandh called by the separatists. Private vehicles were seen plying though.
Many employees of government offices reported for work. Banks were open and saw a heavy rush of customers.Mobile internet continued to remain suspended. Security forces were on alert.
Talks on the agenda
As the all-party team readies to visit the militancy-hit state, talks with separatists are seen by many as necessary to restore normality in the Valley.
At a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, CM Mehbooba Mufti suggested on Saturday a “three-pronged action plan”, including involving separatists and Pakistan in substantive talks, sources in Mufti’s Peoples Democratic Party said.
She also asked for “an institutional mechanism of interlocutors” to talk to all stakeholders in Kashmir.
In 2010, when Kashmir was in the grips of similar violent street protests, a meeting between an all-party team and separatists helped restore calm. The then UPA government had also sent a team of interlocutors to Kashmir but their recommendations have since gathered dust.