By: Javaid Malik MK
There are no pre-conditions set by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) for the scheduled talks with the leaders of Jammu and Kashmir on June 24, and it will set the stage for the talks to remain open for both sides reports The Hindu.
According to this report, quoting some Kashmiri leaders who are going to participate in the meeting that all the pre-conditions for the talks are no longer there and it would be open discussion.
According to this report, “It was only after the Centre showed willingness not to put any redlines for talks … it prepared the ground for the engagement,” a senior National Conference (NC) leader and former Minister told The Hindu, on condition of anonymity.
He said the talks would be open-ended. “Neither delimitation nor early elections nor Statehood will be the agenda of talks. It then limits the scope of dialogue and engagement,” he added.
The Hindu in its report said that the drop of pre-conditions came from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) after the National Conference said that they would be the part of further meetings of the delimitation commission as earlier they had boycotted such meetings of the commission in Jammu and Kashmir.
National Conference president Farooq Abdullah and PDP Chief Mehbooba Mufti with other members during a media address after a meeting of People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration, in Srinagar, on June 22.
Farooq Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti to attend talks with PM Modi on June 24.
Earlier, top Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Ministers at the Centre, including Union Home Minister Amit Shah, would ask the regional parties to limit their demands to Statehood and stop seeking any special status, after the Centre ended J&K’s special constitutional position on August 5, 2019.
‘Development with dignity’
“We will continue to demand restoration of the August 4, 2019 position of J&K. We will also seek to address the genuine aspirations of people. There has to be development with dignity,” NC leader and Member Parliament Hasnain Masoodi said, ahead of the meeting in Srinagar.
The PMO’s move is a significant scaling down of the BJP’s position on the issue of special status for J&K. It remains to be seen if Prime Minister Narendra Modi would listen and respond to the position of the Gupkar alliance, an amalgam of five political parties seeking pre-August 5 position in J&K, on June 24.
A senior Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader, however, said there were fears within the party that the BJP intended to limit the engagement to optics. “We have our fingers crossed and wish it’s not a trap but a genuine change in thinking and approach. It is a welcome step if the PM agrees to listen to the political positions of regional parties. Only the events and gestures after the June 24 meeting will set the momentum for the talks,” the PDP leader said.
With inputs from The Hindu