All Party Meeting: The Complete Story

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SRINAGAR: The marathon all-party meeting (APM) that Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti presided over, almost a week ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit, has ‘almost’ decided that the suggestion of ceasefire would be discussed in the forthcoming meeting of the Unified Headquarters. She threw her weight behind the idea that she would lead an all-party delegation (APD) to the Prime Minister before his scheduled visit and suggest modus Vivendi.

To Delhi: Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said she will lead a delegation to Prime Minister and suggest a unilateral ceasefire for the month of Ramadhan and Amarnath Yatra. KL Image: Bilal Bahadur

The members said no concrete suggestion came from the government as the Chief Minister sought suggestions, instead. They even accused the government of utter failure in implementing the Agenda of Alliance on basis of which it has entered into an alliance and assumed power. Even Chief Minister acknowledged it, later.

Eventually, there was consensus on taking the all-party delegation to Prime Minister that will seek a ceasefire on the pattern of Atal Behari Vajpayee. NC, however, said it will decide on this within the party first.

The APM was convened to discuss the prevailing situation and, as the Chief Minister put it, how to prevent the youth from taking up guns and the stones. “We cannot afford to have our young children dying and we cannot just sit back,” she said at the outset of the meeting. The meeting continued for nearly five hours.

What NC Said?

National Conference delegation led by Ali Mohammad Sagar talked in the historic backdrop of centre-state relations and insisted how Delhi is suffering from a serious trust deficit. He said the Delhi that got Prime Minister of J&K imprisoned through an ASI accuses Dr Farooq Abdullah of being anti-national despite the fact that he took over in the most difficult situation in 1996. He talked about autonomy and other initiatives including the Working Groups.

However, what was important was that Sagar said his party will support the government in its initiatives to defuse the situation as long as it has a clear roadmap. He accused the government of complete failure in defusing the situation. “We faced a similar situation in 2010 but we managed peaceful years later till 2014,” Sagar is reported to have said. “But you have failed in defusing the situation.”

Later, he told media that his party was happy that it boycotted 2016 APM because we knew nothing was happening. Sagar said there is a desperate requirement for political outreach, cessation of all hostilities, halt in violation of human rights and implementation of the AoA. “The government must take bold steps,” he suggested. He indicated that the party will discuss the suggestions that came up in APD with the party leadership.

The Congress Stand

Congress delegation led by G A Mir told the Chief Minister that in its earlier alliance with Congress, the PDP created a reference of three years in the governance history of the state. The only reason for that was that PDP enjoyed the complete trust and support from the central government which enabled it to improve the satiation, open roads, manage peace and take the development to the next level.

Mir asked the Chief Minister why is not she having the same comfort from her ally in Delhi?

Later talking to media after the meeting was over, Mir told reporters that they felt the Chief Minister is completely helpless and she is unable to convince the central government. “From her opening and closing remarks we could make out that she is neither in a position to part way’s nor in a position to get relief to the people,” Mir said. “She sought an APD to convince the Prime Minister for certain initiatives.” He also said the way the BJP response came to her assertions in the meeting indicated the two are not on the same page.

The party asked the Chief Minister to revisit her three years of alliance BJP and see her report card. “The situation is getting bad to worse and it may reach a level where it will be out of control,” Mir said, insisting that the body bags being scattered on daily basis is indicative of a serious law and order failure. He said Kashmir could go like Afghanistan. He said Kashmir is a political issue and needs to be dealt politically. The party regretted the failure of Agenda of Alliance.

Tarigami For APD

CPI (M) leader Yousuf Tarigami said that an all-party delegation must visit Delhi and convince the centre the requirement for a unilateral ceasefire for the holy month of fasting. “We must pick the courage and seek it,” Tarigami said.

A CPI representative who spoke on behalf of Abdul Rehman Tukroo shocked the APM by saying that how a gun was distributed in south Kashmir. “When it was public that one gun is ready to be given to a recruit, there were more than 100 takers,” Sheikh said. “Finally, the militants had to take the draw of lots route to get identify the sole gun and that is south Kashmir now.”

Engineer Rasheed’s Stand

The independent lawmaker Engineer Rasheed talked in anticipation of the meeting insisting that he wants to clear the confusion of the government and the political class. “From our point of view, there should be a plebiscite and we must suggest a halt to military operations and then ask Delhi what is in their mind,” Rasheed told reporters.

All mainstream parties should ask New Delhi jointly that they will not contest any elections, till she shows sincerity and offer an acceptable dialogue with all the stakeholders in J&K, Rasheed said he told the meeting.

“It hardly makes a difference who rules the state as Kashmiris are not fighting for administrative issues but for the right to self-determination,” he said. “The mainstream has lost the right to be called as the mainstream as people believe all those batting for Delhi are traitors. The formulas like Self Rule and autonomy are already outdated and Kashmiris have not made huge sacrifices for any resolution within Indian constitution. However, in case of plebiscite who knows they may vote for India or Pakistan”.

Rasheed said he asked Mehbooba Mufti to either lead from the front and tell Delhi that J&K is not India’s internal problem or resign and we all will support her if she bats for the right to self-determination.

Accusing New Delhi of enforcing and engineering radicalization in Kashmir by provocations and killing Kashmiris in cold-blooded murder, Rasheed asked the government to stop all operations against militants.

“Delhi is undermining the problem and trying to downplay and divert the real issue. What state government had said about freedom of Hurriyat leaders has proved to be a bigger lie as nothing has changed for JRL,” he pointed out.

BJP’s Stand

The BJP delegation led by Kavinder Gupta was by and large silent and watchful of who is saying what. Its president Sat Sharma did intervene at a few points insisting that it was unjust that everything is being attributed to the BJP. The fact is, he said, Kashmir has been like this for a long time.

Sharam helped APM to laugh a bit when he suggested the state government should go for the Panchayat elections.

Kavinder Gupta also addressed the meeting and stressed on close cooperation between Government and opposition in tackling issues confronting the State. Rasheed asked Gupta why he termed the Kathua incident a “minor issue” and he explained his position.

Panther’s Party leader Harsh Dev Singh tried raking up the issue of Rohingya’s and it triggered a mess as Akbar Lone sharply reacted to him. The meeting, Lone said, is about Kashmir and not about Jammu, right now. The engineer told the Panther that Rohingyas are settler but refugees protected by UN and will go home once the situation improves.

Chief Minister’s Interventions

Chief Minister agreed to both the suggestions: the unilateral ceasefire, which she said would be discussed by her at the Unified Headquarters meeting, scheduled within a few days; and she would also lead the APD to Prime Minister.

Ms Mufti said that all the parties were convinced that the Agenda of Alliance is a comprehensive document which, unfortunately, has not been implemented. She said the document’s economic, political and social agendas are very important.

Terming peace as the ultimate yearning of every section of society in the State, Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti appealed all shades of opinion to join this mission and to get the State out of violence and bloodshed, an official spokesman said.

At the outset, she asked all shades of political opinion to rise above party politics and play their role in giving the youth of the State a safe and secure future. “This is the concern of all of us because in peace lie the stakes of every section of society for which we all should strive jointly”, she said.

Mehbooba Mufti underscored the need for appraising the national leadership and people of the country of the urgent need to reach out to the people of the State and listen to their story of pain and sufferings. She suggested constitution of an APD to meet the Prime Minister and apprise the national leadership about the pain and sufferings of the people and take appropriate measures to minimize the same.

Terming Agenda of Alliance (AoA) as a visionary document, Mehbooba Mufti said the need of the hour is to go back to the document and seek its immediate implementation which she said holds key to the problems and issues confronting the State.

ALL PARTY MEETING

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti presided over an all-party meeting to discuss the current situation. What transpired in the five-hour-long meeting, watch this short film

Posted by Kashmir Life on Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Later talking to media persons about the meeting, the Chief Minister said it was satisfying to note that all participants were unanimously concerned about the unending cycle of violence in the State and wished its immediate end. Equally encouraging, she added, was that the participants wanted the implementation of the Agenda of Alliance which they believed would positively change the situation in the State.

The meeting, the Chief Minister said, also suggested appealing the Centre to announce a unilateral cessation of hostilities in view of the coming month of Ramadhan and Amarnath yatra to extend relief to common masses. She said suggestion during the meeting also came of constituting an APD to apprise the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi of the emerging challenges in Jammu & Kashmir and the urgent need to reach out to people in the light of his last Independence Day speech.

Earlier, PDP leader Mehboob Beig started insisting that the situation is grave in the post-Burhan era and the social media had added to the crisis.

There was another consensus among the parties that the situation has turned bad and most of the political workers are immobile. Opposition parties said that the security of some of their workers has withdrawn which has added to their problems. One participant said that even Chief Minister agreed to the immobility of political activist argument.

Hakim Yasin was also part of the meeting. However, Ghulam Hassan Mir had sent his representative.

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