New Delhi, April 19 (IANS) The Congress, which has been critical of both the Centre and the PDP-BJP coalition government over their handling of the Jammu and Kashmir situation, set up a policy-planning group led by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the state on Wednesday.
The group includes senior leaders Karan Singh, P. Chidambaram, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ambika Soni, Ghulam Ahmed Mir, Rigzin Zora, Tariq Hameed Karra, and Shyam Lal Sharma.
“Congress President Sonia Gandhi has constituted a policy-planning group for Jammu and Kashmir under the chairmanship of Manmohan Singh,” said a statement released by party General Secretary Janardan Dwivedi.
The move comes after a delegation of the Congress and National Conference leaders from Jammu and Kashmir met party Vice-President Rahul Gandhi.
Rahul Gandhi also accepted the delegation members’ invitation to visit Kashmir and talk to the people and other stakeholders in the Valley.
The delegation led by PCC President Ghulam Ahmed Mir later called on President Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan and apprised him of the situation in the Kashmir Valley and submitted a memorandum to him.
Gandhi earlier said on his official Twitter account: “Met a delegation of Congress and NC leaders, who will call on the President later today (Wednesday) to express our concern over the situation in Kashmir.”
“We briefed Rahul ji about the situation in Kashmir. He was concerned about the situation. He said the good work done by the earlier United Progressive Alliance government to restore peace in the state has been destroyed by the present PDP-BJP government in three years,” said state Congress chief Ghulam Ahmed Mir.
“He said he is with the people of Kashmir and accepted our invitation to visit the Valley, as and when we want him to. He said he’ll talk to the people and the other stakeholders in the Valley and also hold political meetings,” Mir added.
Voting in the Srinagar-Budgam parliamentary constituency on April 9 saw large-scale violence and death of eight civilians in clashes, besides a record low turnout of seven per cent voters. Re-polling on April 13 at 38 polling stations in Budgam district recorded a mere two per cent balloting.
Widespread protests by students and clashes with police in Srinagar, Bandipora, Baramulla, Anantnag, Pulwama, Kupwara, Kulgam and Shopian districts have also rocked the valley.