Srinagar: Asserting that Kashmir was a political issue, Home Minister P Chidambaram Thursday announced that the contours of a â€˜political solutionâ€™ to the problem were likely to emerge in next few months.
â€œKashmir issue is a political issue for which a political solution must be found. However, peace and good governance are pre-requisites for reaching a political solution,â€ P Chidambaram told a meeting of â€˜Parliamentary Consultative Committeeâ€™ in New Delhi today, a home ministry release to KMW said here.
P Chidambaram appreciated the work by three-member interlocutorsâ€” journalist Dilip Padgaonkar, academician Radha Kumar and the former Central Information Commissioner MM Ansari, named on October 13 after the visit by 39-mmeber MPs delegation in September this year.
The Home Minister said that the first and second reports of the group of interlocutors dealt with confidence-building measures.
â€œThe group it is making good progress,â€ he told the meeting which revolved around â€œMatters relating to Jammu and Kashmirâ€, the release added.
He said that the interlocutors were asked now to focus on finding the contours of a political solution.
Chidambaram also underlined that Jammu and Kashmir witness two types of violence and called for different approach to deal with each. â€œThe violence perpetrated by militants and infiltrators must be dealt with in a strong and resolute manner. On the other hand, the violence witnessed during protests by residents of Jammu and Kashmir requires deft and sensitive handling.â€
While observing that the 8-point plan, announced recently by New Delhi, had helped to improve situation, Chidambaram underscored need to strengthen the â€œprocessâ€. â€œSpace must be allowed for peaceful protests. Governance and delivery on the ground must improve. Visible presence of security forces must be reduced,â€ he said.
The meeting was attended by Prof Ram Gopal Yadav, Bhubaneswar Kalita, Rishang keishing, H.K.Dua and Dr. Ashok Sekhar Ganguly from the Rajya Sabha and Dr. Thokchom Meinya, Dr. Rattan Singh Ajnala and N. Dharam Singh from the Lok Sabha. The Minister of State for Home, Mullappally Ramachandran was also present at the meeting.
Taking part in the discussions, Members welcomed the steps taken by the Government to improve the situation in the troubled state. Some Members felt that efforts must be made to evolve a political consensus on the Kashmir issue at the national level.
They also emphasized the need to create employment opportunities, especially for the educated youth. The members also suggested amending the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and speedy rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrants.
Responding to the suggestions made by the Members, the Home Minister pointed out that two Special Task Forces â€“ one for Jammu and the other for Ladakh â€“ have been constituted to examine the developmental needs of these regions. The Prime Ministerâ€™s Office has constituted an Expert Group under the chairmanship of Dr. C. Rangarajan to formulate a job plan. â€œIt is expected that the reports of all these groups will be received by next month so that their recommendations can be considered by the Government and factored in the next yearâ€™s Budget,â€ he said.
The Centre, he said, has also released Special Plan Assistance of Rs 100 crore to the Government for improving the infrastructure in schools and colleges. On AFSPA, Chidambaram stated that a proposal to amend the Act is under consideration of the Government. He also informed the members about the steps taken for the rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrants.
Drawing attention of the members to the recent positive developments in the state, the Home Minister pointed out that 5,56,370 tourists visited Jammu and Kashmir this year up to 6th December which shows an increase of about 25 per cent over the number during the corresponding period last year. The Amarnath Yatra this year was one of the most peaceful yatras ever conducted and 4,58,000 pilgrims took part in the Yatra. The Home Minister concluded by saying that efforts must be made to win the minds and hearts of the people of the State.