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NC to boycott meeting with Centre’s panel
S.P. Sharma
Tribune News Service

Jammu, February 2
The National Conference (NC), the main Opposition party in the state, has decided to boycott the meeting of the Working Group on Kashmir (KWG) on Centre-state relations here tomorrow to register the party’s protest over the “spurt” in incidents of human rights violation in Kashmir.

The second meeting of the crucial KWG, which will not only spell out the Centre-state relations but also discuss ways and means to strengthen democracy and rule of law in the state, will be held under the chairmanship of Justice Sagir Ahmad.

The NC had recently decided to boycott meetings of all five KWGs that have been set up by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after the two roundtable conferences of all parties.

NC chief Omar Abdullah today said they would not participate in the meeting as there was no perceivable change in the attitude of the government. Innocent people were being killed in fake encounters. The situation, in fact, has further deteriorated, he said.

Mr Abdullah said his father and NC patron Dr Farooq Abdullah had said that the party would reconsider its decision only after an assurance by the government that innocent people would not be harassed. However, the boycott would continue till the time the situation changed on the ground, he added.

It is learnt that PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti might also not participate in the meeting because of her prior engagements. However, Mr Muzaffar Hussain Beig, the think-tank of the PDP, would take part.

The PDP is expected to discuss its “self-rule” proposal in the meeting. BJP leader Arun Jaitley, who is a member of the KWG, might stress the demand for abrogation of the Article 370 that provides special status to the state.

Assembly Speaker Tara Chand, CPM leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami, Panthers Party MLA Harshdev Singh, JSM MLA Ashwani Sharma and Kashmiri Pandit leader Ajay Charangoo are among those who are expected to participate in the meeting.

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