Under pressure amid frequent bloodshed, firefights with militants and the prevailing volatile situation in Kashmir, mainstream political parties in Jammu and Kashmir Wednesday decided to urge New Delhi to announce a unilateral ceasefire during the holy month of Ramadhan and the upcoming annual Amarnath pilgrimage.
After chairing an all-party meeting convened here, chief minister Mehbooba Mufti said the parties were of unanimous view about a unilateral ceasefire soon.
“Everyone agreed that we must appeal Government of India that they should consider a unilateral ceasefire like Vajpayee ji did in 2000,” Mufti, flanked by deputy chief minister Kavinder Gupta, told reporters.
“The government of India should think about it so that common man can heave a sigh of relief.”
Ramadhan begins next week and the Amarnath pilgrimage this year is scheduled between June 28 and August 26.
Mufti said gunfights, crackdowns and search operations were causing inconvenience to the people.
“Efforts should be made to create conducive atmosphere so that both Eid and Amarnath Yatra passes off peacefully,” the chief minister said.
The recommendation from all the state parties comes ahead of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the state on May 19.
The CM said there was also a suggestion that an all-party delegation from J&K should meet Modi to express their concern over the volatile situation in Kashmir and discuss how to reach out to the restive youth of the state.
Mufti claimed everyone in the meeting conceded that if the agenda of alliance for governance, agreed with her coalition partner BJP, was implemented in letter and spirit the prevailing tense situation in the state can be changed.
“It is encouraging that everyone believed implementation of the Agenda of Alliance would positively change the situation in the state.”
The meeting was attended by 11 mainstream parties including National Conference, PDP, Congress, BJP, CPI (M), Peoples Conference and Awami Ittehad Party.
The meeting took place in the backdrop of escalating violence in Kashmir during recent weeks in which 16 persons, including eight civilians were killed since Saturday.
All eyes now would be on how New Delhi responds to the demand of ceasefire by the mainstream camp whose space has appeared shrinking and influence weakening amid the prevailing volatility in Kashmir.
In November 2000, then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajaypee had declared a unilateral ceasefire in Kashmir for the holy month of Ramdhan. The ceasefire was extended for five more months by the before ending it on May 23, 2001.
That ceasefire announcement had followed a unilateral ceasefire by militant group Hizb-ul- Mujahideen in July 2000 that resulted in failed talks with then Union Home Secretary Kamal Pande at Nehru Guest House here.
The militant outfit withdrew its truce within two weeks after Government of India refused to accept its demand, mainly the inclusion of Pakistan in talks on Kashmir.
During the meeting, senior PDP leader Dr Mehboob Beg said talking to Pakistan and Hurriyat as agreed upon in the Agenda of Alliance is a way-out.
“Not autonomy but talking to Pakistan and Hurriyat as agreed upon in A the oA is a way-out,” he said.
The former MP said Burhan Wani could have happened with anybody in power.