Demonstrators throw stones towards police during a protest in Srinagar.
All mainstream parties of Jammu and Kashmir, including the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), on Wednesday asked the Centre to declare “a unilateral ceasefire for the month of Ramzan and the period of the Amarnath Yatra.”
“There was a unanimous decision of all the parties at the meeting that the Government of India consider a unilateral ceasefire in view of the coming month of Ramadhan and Amarnath Yatra to extend relief to the masses. The parties suggested that the Centre offer the ceasefire as former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee did in [November] 2000,” Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said after the meeting of all regional parties at Sher-i-Kashmir International Convention Centre here.
She had called for an all-party meeting in the wake of growing encounters and civilian casualties in street protests, especially in the past 40 days, leaving 69 people, including 28 civilians and a Chennai tourist, dead.
‘Common man hit’
“Encounters and crackdowns are causing trouble to the common man. Efforts must be made to maintain the environment so that both Id and Amarnath Yatra are peaceful... It’s important to retrieve the dialogue process,” she said. An all-party team would meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss the outreach.
Terming the Agenda of Alliance (AoA) “a visionary document,” Ms. Mufti said, “The need of the hour is to go back to the document and seek its immediate implementation. The participants [of the meeting] wanted implementation of the AoA, which they believed would positively change the situation in J&K.”
Senior BJP leaders, including Deputy Chief Minister Kavinder Gupta and Sat Sharma, were also present at the meeting. The all-party meeting was attended by the National Conference’s Ali Muhammad Sagar, the Congress’s G.A. Mir, the CPI(M)’s M.Y. Tarigami, the Peoples Democratic Front’s Hakim Muhammad Yaseen, the Awami Ittehad Party’s Engineer Rashid and the Democratic Party Nationalist’s Ghulam Hassan Mir.
Ramzan will start in Kashmir next week and the yatra will begin from June 28 and will end on August 26.
A farce: Hurriyat
Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, however, described the all-party meet “a farce to mislead people.”
“These very parties and people are responsible for our misery and massacres. Our suffering is an outcome of the draconian laws put in place here by New Delhi with the full cooperation and support of these pro-India parties,” said the Mirwaiz.
If these parties are really serious and mean business, the Mirwaiz said, then “all the black laws should be revoked forthwith and the force’s personnel responsible for the massacre of innocent youth should be brought to justice.”