Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday took part in an all-party meet to discuss the ongoing unrest in Jammu and Kashmir. The meeting had been called in a bid to discuss ways of cooling the tensions in Kashmir, which had erupted after the killing of terrorist Burhan Wani by security forces.
“There cannot be any compromise on national security. But we have to win the confidence of the people in Jammu and Kashmir,” PM Modi said at the all-party meeting. He also reiterated India’s stand that it considered Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK) a part of Jammu and Kashmir.
PM Modi thanked parties from across the political spectrum for having spoken in one voice on the issue.
The all-party meet came at the end of the Budget Session of the Parliament. Both the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha have unanimously passed resolutions calling on the people of Kashmir to help restore peace in the Kashmir Valley.
Two key decisions were made at the all-party meet – engagement with all concerned parties in Kashmir and that there would be no visit by an all-party delegation yet.
Opposition leaders at the meeting called for talks to be initiated with all stake holders in Kashmir, including separatists.
PM Modi’s reference to PoK was the second time his government has mentioned it in as many days. On Thursday, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had told Lok Sabha that India’s willingness to discuss the Kashmir issue with Pakistan would be limited to PoK. Rajnath had categorically ruled out any discussion with Islamabad on Jammu and Kashmir.
According to news agency, former prime minister Manmohan Singh assured “full-cooperation” on behalf of the Congress party in any measures adopted by the government to diffuse the tension in Kashmir. Speaking to reporters after the meeting ended, CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury told reporters that “we have given our suggestions. HM concluded by saying that all suggestions will be taken on board”.
During the marathon four-hour-long meeting, which comes in the wake of continued unrest in Kashmir after the killing of Hizbul commander Burhan Wani on July 8, some opposition parties asked the government to take a few immediate confidence-building measures like putting an end to the use of pellet guns and relaxing AFSPA in some parts of the valley. It was also suggested that an all-party delegation should visit Kashmir to assess the situation but the government did not make commitments regarding any of their demands.