Rajnath’s initiative on J&K: Better late than never

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The NDA government headed by the Prime  Minister, Narendra Modi, has been facing flak on many fronts and the three-year ‘achievement’ card is besmirched with many failures, but the  ruling BJP is adamant to admit a single flaw on the part of the Prime Minister or his cabinet colleagues. Demonetisation was the biggest blunder on the  part of the Prime  Minister as no objective was achieved for which it was introduced, but the  Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and the party president Amit Shah issued daring statements on the  success of the measure despite the fact that the ill-adviced move caused a big downfall in the economic growth. The menace of Gau Rakshaks gripped the country to such an extent that the Supreme Court had to intervene and issue directions to State Governments to take steps  to stop the cow vigilantes atrocities on Muslims and Dalits.

The government is woefully indifferent to solve growing unemployment in the country. This   has been the case also of Jammu and Kashmir where the normal life is woefully disturbed. The opposition parties repeatedly asked the government to take some positive steps to improve  the situation. Even the Chief Minister Mahbooba Mufti who is heading an alliance government with the ruling party met the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to come to her rescue, but her plea fell on the deaf ears of those at the helm of affairs. Now the wisdom dawned on the Home Minister Rajnath Singh who visited the state with a four-day schedule from September 9. The negotiation is the only solution to the Kashmir problem and the government was avoiding it on one pretext or other. Now the Home  Minister declared that he was ready to hold talks with all the stakeholders. He was asked whether he would  talk to the separatist group leaders of Hurriyat Conference, he said he was willing to negotiate with everyone who approached him. However, Syed Shah Geelani and other leaders ignored him,  but till September 11, he met 55 delegations including political parties and  others.

The working president of the National Conference Omer Abdullah called on him and  represented the  case of Article 35 A which is being opposed by the  government of India. It relates to the special status to the state. The matter is pending in Supreme Court and  the government  filed affidavit opposing the Article. However, Rajnath Singh assured the former Chief Minister Omer Abdullah that the government would not take any step against the sentiments of the people. He said the government would respect J & K’s special status. It means the government has to file counter affidavit in the court. It will be a vital policy decision and if the government went for it, then its sincerity is above the board.

In Jammu also, the  regional president  of National Conference Devender Singh Rana called on the  Home Minister and welcomed the assurance  given on Article 35  A and  told  Rajnath Singh that the  party  would support every step  of the  government if it did not go against the special status of the  state. The Congress leaders  did not meet the Home  Minister because the  party itself sent its delegation headed by Manmohan  Singh to Kashmir to take stock of the  situation. Whether the visit would  be result-oriented  or not should not be discussed now, the  government initiative to start dialogue should be  welcomed.

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