The all parties meet conducted by the chief minister Ghulam Nabbi Azad on Saturday failed to bring consensus among the participating parties on the issue of vital importance.
The issue of refugees, who have migrated from Pakistan and occupied Kashmir in 1947, 1965 and 1971 remained at the core of the dispute.
Sources said that the issue drove a wedge among the parties on regional lines. The PDP, an important ally of the Congress in government, the opposition National Conference and other fringe groups like Peoples’ Democratic Front and CMP, who deem valley as their political constituency, opposed any move to granting the status of permanent residents of the state to the refuges.
The Congress, Panthers Party, BSP, JMM and the BJP, who all have bases in Jammu region, were in favor of granting them the status.
Around 10 lakh refugees from Pakistan and POK are living in various parts of Jammu region. They however do not enjoy the rights or permanent residents of the state.
The State Subject Law does not allow any outsider to become permanent resident of the state. The BJP and some other Jammu-based parties have been pleading for granting them the status of permanent residents.
However, the issue did found favor from the people and political parties in the valley. There are apprehensions that granting them permanent status would not only flout the State Subject Law but also effect demographic change in the state.
"The divide was quite obvious. The issue emerged as valley versus Jammu", said a leader witness to the proceedings. He said that there was however consensus among the participants to address the civic and social problems confronting them.
It was decided to form a committee to look into the civic, social and developmental problems of the refugees. The committee has been asked to submit its reports within 10 days from its formation.
The differences were quite obvious on delimitation of seats for the state assembly as well. PDP, National Conference and other valley-based parties sought increase in the Assembly seats in all the three regions, proportionate to the present number of the constituencies. However, the Jammu-based parties favored increase in seats on equal bases.
The meeting ended with the consensus on the process of continuous consultation on such conflicting issues.
The separatist political parties did not participate in the meeting. Both factions of Hurriyat Conference described the meeting as an attempt to sabotage the efforts of finding a solution to the issue of Kashmir by India and Pakistan.