Centre has no policy on J&K: Cong

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NEW DELHI: The BJP-led Central Government neither had a vision nor policy or direction to restore peace in Jammu and Kashmir, the Congress said today, fearing that the appointment of an Interlocutor for the State would remain merely a photo opportunity.
Congress’ communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala said his party had welcomed any effort to restore peace and normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir, but, he
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added that the State had become a matter of empty rhetoric and photo opportunities for the Government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“The Congress party has always supported any such endeavour bereft of political lines. The tragedy is that the Modi Government neither has a vision nor a policy or direction nor a timeline or framework for restoration of normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir. For them, the State seems to have become a matter of empty rhetoric and sometimes, photo opportunities,” he said.
Surjewala added that the Centre continued to come up with different lines on Jammu and Kashmir from time to time, sometimes by initiating Foreign Secretary-level talks, and then cancel them unilaterally.
Then, he said, they held secret talks in a third country, which they later denied when exposed, besides involving private businessmen for talks with Pakistan, which, he added was unheard of.
“Then they initiate NSA-level talks and then, cancel those talks.
“The truth is that it is the people of Jammu and Kashmir, who are facing the brunt on account of the lack of a clear-cut policy of the current Government,” the Congress leader said, adding that the soldiers taking on the terrorists operating on the Indian soil as also Pakistan-sponsored terrorism continued to make supreme sacrifices.
He claimed that in the last 41 months, the number of soldiers laying down their lives defending the motherland had gone up by six times.
“What is Modiji’s policy? What framework of conversation this interlocutor is supposed to have is unknown to everybody. Who are the stakeholders, whom the Prime Minister has authorised the interlocutor to speak to, is also unknown. What is his jurisdiction? What is his line? What is his brief?
“What Modiji and his Government are seeking to achieve through the Interlocutor is also not clear. So, again it seems to be becoming another photo opportunity,” Surjewala said, in a reference to the Centre recently appointing former Intelligence Bureau (IB) chief Dineshwar Sharma as its special representative for Jammu and Kashmir.
Surjewala alleged that the PDP-BJP Government in Jammu and Kashmir continued to “sometimes protect and sometimes shelter the separatists” in the State and described the situation as tragic.
Contrary to this, he claimed that during the 10-year UPA rule at the Centre, there was a clear-cut policy on Jammu and Kashmir.
“We had empowered the grassroot democratic institutions of the State by holding elections to those bodies, so that the grievances of the people could be sorted out through their representatives elected through the ballot, not the bullet,” the Congress leader said.
“All of this has been reversed on account of the myopic and lopsided policies of the Prime Minister,” he alleged.
Surjewala hoped that something meaningful was done to ensure that militancy was nipped in the bud and a constructive engagement within the four corners of the Constitution took place in Jammu and Kashmir. (PTI)

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