J&K opposition leaders meet Rahul Gandhi over prolonged unrest, to meet PM on Monday

NEW DELHI(PTI): With Kashmir under curfew for the last 44 days, former state chief minister Omar Abdullah on Sunday led a joint delegation of opposition parties for a meeting with Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi where he pitched for efforts to find a political solution to the violent unrest which has claimed 64 lives so far.

The delegation had called on President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday and would meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi tomorrow. The opposition leaders from the troubled state asked Gandhi to make efforts at the national level for finding a “political rather than administrative” solution to the current spell of unrest, the longest in recent memory, in the aftermath of the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani by the security forces on July 8.

The PDP-BJP government in Jammu and Kashmir led by Mehbooba Mufti has been flayed by Abdullah’s National Conference and other opposition parties for “creating disaffection” in the Valley, particularly among the youth, by trying to find an administrative solution to end the current spiral of violence. “Discussed the current political crisis in J and K with a delegation of opposition leaders from the state led by @abdullah_omar (Omar Abdullah),” the Congress leader tweeted after the meeting.

CPI-M MLA M Y Tarigami, who was part of the delegation, told Gandhi that the ongoing stir in Kashmir should be considered a national problem and a consensus be built among political parties for evolving a political approach to deal with the situation. “The present crisis should not be looked through the prism of another round of violence but needs a closer look keeping in mind the scope and implication of this serious crisis,” Tarigami said.

State Congress chief G A Mir, who was also in the delegation that called on Gandhi, said “There is an urgent need to reach out to the people and not treat the present situation as a mere law and order problem.” He thanked the Congress vice president for taking up the issue in Parliament and forcing the government to a debate on the issue.

“Violence and bloodshed is leading to no solution. The political doors need to be opened urgently before the situation turns more violent,” he said. The delegation also comprised senior National Conference leaders including A R rather, Ali Mohammed Sagar, Nasir Wani, Davinder Rana and independent MLA Hakeem Yasin.

The delegation had met President Pranab Mukherjee yesterday and submitted him a memorandum urging the Centre to deal with the present crisis “politically” rather than administratively. It would meet Prime Minister Modi tomorrow to impress upon him the need for finding a “political solution” to the crisis by initiating a dialogue with “all stakeholders”.