Aditi Tandon & Mukesh Ranjan
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, June 23
Ahead of PM Narendra Modi’s meeting with mainstream parties of Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday, a sense of hope and cautious optimism is palpable in the UT with expectations that the political process would resume with the opening of talks.
On the eve of the meeting — the first since the abrogation of Article 370 and bifurcation of J&K state into two UTs — the Delimitation Commission held a virtual meeting with deputy commissioners of J&K to assess the current status of constituencies and their geographical compactness.
Edit: Restore J&K statehood
In the Valley, the meeting is being viewed as significant for those involved — be it J&K parties or the Centre. Political observers term the PM’s outreach as “exceptional” in that the government has not set any agenda for talks and has displayed its willingness to freely hear all parties. “The talks are very relevant and in a way exceptional. From J&K parties’ perspective, the willingness to participate without any preconditions is significant. Equally important is that the Centre has not laid out any specific agenda. Parties will have the freedom to speak their mind. This approach will definitely create a template for future talks,”
Gull Mohammad Wani, head, political science department, University of Kashmir, said. On the sentiment prevailing in Jammu and Kashmir on the eve of the meeting, Mohammad said, “One of cautious optimism”.
Afaq Aziz, political commentator and professor, Centre of Central Asian Studies, University of Kashmir, said the opening of dialogue was critical to long-term peace and stability in Jammu and Kashmir although immediate major gains could not be expected.
“There is hope that the political process will restart. It is a long road,” he said.
Militant killed in Shopian encounter
Security forces killed an unidentified terrorist in Shirmal area of Shopian in Kashmir, the police said. A search operation was launched following inputs about the presence of militants. TNS
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