Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah visited violence-hit Baramulla district in north Kashmir on Monday, meeting prominent citizens, civil society and party workers and extending sympathy to relatives of those killed.
“A political solution is required to address the Kashmir problem. The time has come to go to the root of the problem in Kashmir and address it withall sincerity,” he said.
Under fire from the opposition as well as the central government for not reaching out to people in violence-hit areas, Abdullah decided to hold grassroots-level meetings.
“The government is for the people and shall fight for their rights and address their issues,” he said.
At least 11 civilians have been killed in three weeks as security forces have opened fire on youth protesters in the district’s Sopore town.
The chief minister said while a peace dialogue has started between India and Pakistan, a political dialogue between the Centre and different shades of opinion within Jammu and Kashmir must also begin in earnest.
“My government is ready to act as a facilitator for such a dialogue.”
He said the border between India and Pakistan cannot be redrawn, but it could be made irrelevant.
“During the Manmohan-Musharraf talks we were close to a solution, but circumstances derailed the process,” Abdullah said, referring to the dialogue between the governments of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.
“We should not lose heart, and restart an effort to initiate a meaningful dialogue and strengthen the confidence building measures between the two nations and the people on both sides,” Abdullah said.