Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed deep concern and pain at the unrest and unabating violence in Kashmir. Modi has urged all political parties to unanimously support a "permanent and lasting" solution within the framework of the Constitution to the problems of Jammu and Kashmir.
Prime Minister Modi highlighted the need for dialogue for restoration of normalcy in the valley, as the unrest that began since the killing of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen leader Burhan Wani on July 8 entered the 45th day. So far, 68 people have been killed.
A 75-minute-long meeting with a joint 20-member opposition delegation that was led by former J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, and additionally comprised seven of Abdullah's National Conference MLAs along with Congress legislators led by PCC Chief G.A. Mir and CPI(M) MLA M Y Tarigami, presented a memorandum to Prime Minister Modi. They collectively made an appeal for a political approach to resolve the crisis in the Valley and to ensure that the "mistakes" of the past are not repeated.
Modi appreciated the "constructive suggestions" and reiterated his government's commitment to the welfare and development of the people of Kashmir and said "those who lost their lives during recent disturbances are part of us, our nation; whether the lives lost are of our youth, security personnel or police, it distresses us. Government and the nation stand with the state of Jammu and Kashmir."
Soon after, Omar Abdullah wrote a series of tweets. "We welcome the statement of the Hon PM @narendramodi ji and look forward to working together to find a lasting solution to problems of J&K…grateful to @narendramodi ji for taking out the time to receive the delegation from J&K and giving us a patient hearing beyond allotted time."
click here for full text of released statement on today's meeting.
Abdullah's comments on Modi and Kashmir
The 46-year-old working president of the National Conference told reporters that the prime minister acknowledged that development alone is not the answer to the crisis that Kashmiri's are facing.
"We implore you to announce an immediate ban on pellet guns and advise relevant quarters against the policy of mass harassment, raids and arrests as this has worsened an already volatile situation in the State and also goes against the values and principles of democracy," the memorandum submitted to Modi said.
Mehbooba Mufti's statements
Responding to questions by reporters regarding the opposition delegation meeting with the Prime Minister, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Monday said that it would be a good thing if some solution could be found through such initiatives.
"There is so much of bloodshed and loss of lives and property (in the valley). We live in a democratic set-up. If opposition leaders meet the Prime Minister or the President, if some solution can be found, it is a good thing," she told reporters here when asked to comment on the meeting.
Mehbooba who was in Jammu on Monday for the first time since violence began in the valley last month, also spared a few words on the ongoing strife in Kashmir and asserted that the foment was the result of a handful of people that are bent on unsettling the ruling PDP-BJP coalition in the state and concluded that the predominant majority of Kashmiris were peace loving and want "dignity and development."
"(These people) who do not want peace in Kashmir are inviting youths to violence for their vested interests. Guns went into Afghanistan, Syria and Russia. Was anything achieved there by using those guns? Violence brings only destruction and nothing else," Mehbooba said at an official function in Bhagwati Nagar area of the city.
Mehbooba also thanked the the people of Jammu for maintaining peace and harmony when the valley was going through difficult times. She said the fact that students from Kashmir studying outside the state did not face any problems because of the unrest proves that people in other parts of the country love Kashmiris.