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Mainstream Parties Welcome, Hurriyat Says, It's An Eyewash

New Delhi/Srinagar, Sept 25 : The eight-point Centre's initiative to address the unrest in Kashmir valley was on Saturday  welcomed by the mainstream and regional parties in J and K as a "positive development" and
PTI September 25, 2010 22:29 IST
PTI
New Delhi/Srinagar, Sept 25 : The eight-point Centre's initiative to address the unrest in Kashmir valley was on Saturday  welcomed by the mainstream and regional parties in J and K as a "positive development" and "good beginning" while the hardline Hurriyat group dismissed it as a "mere eyewash".  

The moderate Hurriyat faction headed by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and JKLF Chairman Mohammad Yaseen Malik maintained a studied silence to the announcements made by Union Home Minister P Chidambaram. Political parties hoped the initiative will help resolve the political issues in Jammu and Kashmir and reciprocated by the people of the state.

J and K Chief Minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah welcomed the move and expressed the hope that these steps would ultimately lead to resolving political issues in the state.  

"The Centre's Kashmir initiative is a positive development and must lead to a resolution to all political issues of Jammu and Kashmir," Omar, who is in the national capital, told reporters. Omar also said the appointment of interlocutors to start dialogue with civil society was a welcome step.

J and K's main opposition party PDP said the initiative is definitely a good beginning but felt more needed to be done. "It is definitely a good beginning but more needs to be done to regain the trust of the people," PDP chief spokesperson Nayeem Akhtar told PTI. He said the the steps announced by Chidambaram should lead to more confidence building steps, which would result in the revival of the 2003 peace process.

Hurriyat hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani said "none of our demands have been considered by Government of India and the foremost among those was accepting Jammu and Kashmir as a disputed territory." Geelani's response where he said the initiative was a "mere eyewash" came in a video posted on social networking site Youtube.  

Umer Farooq and Yaseen Malik said they would react only after discussing the issues among their own parties. Congress said the initiative was a very holistic and well thought out package and hoped this will be reciprocated and responded to by the people of J and K. Congress spokesman Manish Tewari told reporters in New Delhi the steps coverred the "entire spectrum of political, economic, social and security aspects".  

He said the youth of the state should see the announcement in the spirit it has been done and react in a positive manner. The BJP said it would support all steps which are "anti-separatists and pro-citizens".

"BJP favours return of normalcy in Jammu & Kashmir. It has always stood for strong signals being sent to separatists that India shall not compromise on its sovereignty under any circumstances," the party said in a statement in New Delhi.  

"We shall not accept any dilution of the provisions of Armed Forces Special Powers Act. Obviously, even para-military forces require the protection of this Act in areas such as Srinagar," it added.  

Senior NC leader Mehboob Baig said, "Though rather late, It is a good beginning. Huge confidence building measures one after another are needed to create a conducive atmosphere for talks with all sections of society to find a solution to Kashmir issue." PTI