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Proactive PM may talk to agitators

On the 60th day of the J&K crisis, it appears that the PM will intervene and talk directly to the protesting groups to restore peace in both the regions, writes Aurangzeb Naqshbandi.

india Updated: Aug 21, 2008 00:11 IST
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi

On the 60th day of the Jammu and Kashmir crisis, it appears that the Prime Minister will intervene and talk directly to the protesting groups to restore peace in both the regions.

Over the past two days, Manmohan Singh has become proactive. He has held separate meetings with several political leaders from both parts of the state. Singh met Union Water Resources Minister and state Congress chief Saifuddin Soz, CPM leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami, Panthers Party chief Bhim Singh, former Union Law Minister Ram Jethmalani, senior advocate and PCC leader Ashok Bhan and noted journalist Prem Shankar Jha to get their views on how to resolve the crisis. Jha had met several separatist leaders during his recent visit to Kashmir.

It is learnt that some of the leaders suggested that “it was high time” for him to personally intervene in the matter and directly talk to the Hurriyat Conference and other separatist groups in the Valley, besides the Amarnath Sangharsh Samiti.

“Had the Government of India intervened in time, the unfortunate incidents, which claimed several lives in both Kashmir and Jammu, could have been avoided. Time is fast running out. The situation demands bold initiative from the Centre and any more drift can worsen the crisis,” a leader is understood to have told the Prime Minister.

National Conference president Omar Abdullah had also sought his intervention in resolving the crisis.

After his meeting the PM on Wednesday, Tarigami told HT he briefed Singh about the crisis. The day before, Soz had apprised the PM of the situation and possible measures that could defuse the tension. He expressed confidence that though the atmosphere is surcharged, there could be understanding and reconciliation among those having divergent views on the issue.

Bhim Singh is learnt to have proposed amendment to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board Act, 2000. This would enable the board to have all its members only from the state. He also suggested that proprietary rights of the 100 acres of forestland should remain with the state.

Jethmalani recently revived his Kashmir Committee, which at one time had started non-official negotiations with different shades of opinion, including separatists.