Sinha-led panel for ‘concrete follow-up to eloquent statements’ on Kashmir

The Concerned Citizens Group (CCG)  led by former union minister Yashwant Sinha Tuesday asked the Indian  government to initiate a dialogue on Kashmir by identifying stakeholders and set a “time-frame” for it. In a statement, the CCG said it has read with high hopes the statements of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and the BJP leadership on a “positive change in policy towards Kashmir’s citizens, as have many Kashmiris.”

“While looking forward to a concrete follow up, we would like to suggest that in order to operationalise the well-intentioned statements that have so eloquently been made, it is now necessary for the government to clearly identify the stakeholders, announce the name of an authorised interlocutor, set a time-frame for the beginning and conduct of the dialogue process and start it as soon as possible,” the CCG said in the statement.

Besides Sinha, the signatories of the statement include former chairman of minorities commission Wajahat Habibullah, Congress leader Manish Tewari, former foreign secretary Nirupama Rao, writer Ramachandra Guha, senior journalist Bharat Bhushan among others.

In his August 15 address, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said bullets or abuses will not help resolve the problems of Kashmir and a change can take place by embracing all Kashmiris.

The home minister, during his visit to the state recently, had said the situation in the Kashmir Valley has improved significantly over the past year and some “green shoots of peace are visible”.

The CCG said despite deep skepticism that has taken hold of their minds, the encouraging statements by the prime minister, the home minister and others hold promise for the Kashmiris.

“The present opportunity should not be wasted. And, therefore, it is our fervent appeal to the government to quickly act definitively on the sentiments expressed in a time-bound manner,” the statement said.

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