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Congress, CPI(M) Hails Centre's Package; BJP Not Happy

New Delhi, Sep 25 : The eight-point initiative announced by the Centre for resolving the Kashmir crisis on Saturday  saw the political class reacting on predictable lines with the Congress and the CPI(M) hailing the
PTI September 25, 2010 23:13 IST
PTI
New Delhi, Sep 25 : The eight-point initiative announced by the Centre for resolving the Kashmir crisis on Saturday  saw the political class reacting on predictable lines with the Congress and the CPI(M) hailing the initiative but main opposition BJP saying government should reach out to people and not the separatists.  

"BJP is of the opinion that instead of reaching out to the separatists, the Government of India must reach out to the average citizens of the Valley and prevent their harassment," the party said. Congress, on the other hand, said the formula was holistic and a well-thought out package and hoped it will be reciprocated by the people of Jammu and Kashmir.  

"It is very holistic and well thought out package. We hope this will be reciprocated and responded to by the people of Jammu and Kashmir," party spokesman Manish Tewari told reporters here.

The CPI(M) welcomed the government's initiative and wanted the Unified Command in the state to positively consider a review of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).

"It is good that the government has taken these decisions, particularly on the release of the youths, review of cases of detainees under the Public Safety Act (PSA) and compensation," party Politburo member Sitaram Yechury told PTI. However, the BJP expressed its opposition to any dilution of the provisions of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).  

The BJP, which had distanced itself from some leaders of the all-party delegation to J&K meeting separatist leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, 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. Tewari said the steps which have been announced by the Home Minister range across the "entire spectrum of political, economic, social and security aspects".  

Speaking separately, AICC General Secretary Janardan Dwivedi said the party will support any initiative taken by the government in Kashmir.  

 After a meeting of Cabinet Committee on Security, Home Minister P Chidambaram announced the government had decided to appoint a group of interlocutors headed by an eminent person, and would suggest to the Jammu and Kashmir government to release all those booked under minor charges, and also reopen educational institutions.  

Chidambaram said the state Government will be advised to review the notification of areas as "Disturbed Areas" but did not elaborate if it was a prelude to any phased withdrawal of the AFSPA from certain areas of the Valley. PTI