Address sense of alienation among Kashmiris: Yashwant Sinha led-panel to New Delhi

‘Shift offices of delimitation commission to J&K; Allow national opposition to visit Kashmir’

Srinagar, Apr 16: The Concerned Citizens Group (CCG), a civil society initiative on Kashmir, has asked the Centre and political parties in New Delhi to “address the sense of defeat and anger amongst the Kashmiris by opening up the democratic space for people to express themselves”.

In its recommendations after concluding their eighth visit to Kashmir, the group headed by former Union Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha has asked the state actors and political parties to restore the earlier policy of restraint and prevent ‘collateral damage’ during counter-insurgency operations by the security forces.

It has also urged them to allow civil society organisations to function by holding meetings, seminars, and discussions which would allow the people to vent their emotions and relieve the psychological pressure on them.

The non-governmental group also comprising Wajahat Habibullah, Kapil Kak, Sushobha Barve and Bharat Bhushan has also asked the authorities to allow journalists and media persons to freely report from the ground.

The CCG has also asked the government to shift the offices of the Delimitation Commission for J&K to the UT from Delhi so that the exercise is accountable and transparent.

The delimitation commission was constituted on March 6, 2020 for fixing boundaries of 90 Assembly segments of J&K. It has also got one –year extension in March this year.

The CCG has also called for allowing the national opposition political parties to visit Kashmir, move around freely and meet local political leaders and civil society actors.

The group has also urged the state actors to allow the district development council members to “visit their constituencies instead of creating hurdles in their way and make the bureaucracy in the districts accountable to the DDC”.

The CCG visited Kashmir from March 30 to April 2, 2021. This was its third visit after the BJP-led government revoked the special status of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir and the eighth since violence erupted in the Valley following killing of militant commander Burhan Wani in July 2016.

In the report, the group said that it was clear to it that “bringing about peace and restoring the identity and honour of the people of J&K, the Central government would have to restore the statehood of J&K and start a dialogue for a fresh distribution of powers between the Centre and the State, keeping in mind the special history of J&K’s accession to India”. However, the report states, it is not easy to see this process starting under the present regime in Delhi. kno

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