Manmohan Singh’s likely visit to Jammu-Kashmir evokes mixed response

     The proposed visit of Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to the Jammu and Kashmir has evoked a mixed response from different sections of society, particularly from political and separatist factions. Dr. Singh is expected to undertake a visit to the State on June 7. The high-profile visit by the prime minister has become the talk of the town. Diverse views are being expressed about the significance of PM’s visit to the State. While many people are optimist that PM’s visit would usher in a new dawn for the State’s development, there are some others who opine that it may not be as fruitful as is being expected and will conclude just like on the similar lines as it has in the past. Politically, there is a section of Kashmiri leaders that opines that durable solutions cannot be found unless both India and Pakistan adopt a more flexible approach. While another group contends the talks must include separatist leaders rather than mainstream leaders to restore normalcy in Kashmir . “I feel that the dialogue process should be done without any conditions. For this, it is important that proper homework is done by the government to address the needs and issues of the separatist leaders and parties,” said Hashim Qureshi, Chairman of the Democratic Liberation Party. Some Hurriyat leaders, however, believe that Dr Singh’s visit would be more fruitful than the previous ones. “When the dialogue process begins, all the three parties, that is, India , Pakistan and the people of Kashmir , would have to be more flexible in their stand. Only this would ensure a successful dialogue,” said Abdul Ghani Bhatt, a senior Hurriyat leader. Dr Singh will be on a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir from June 7 during which he is expected to renew the offer for talks with separatists and review the progress in the Round Table peace initiative. This will be Dr. Singh’s second visit to Jammu and Kashmir after being reelected as Prime Minister for a second consecutive term in the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government. He visited Srinagar in last October.

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