Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Home Affairs
09-December-2010 15:54 IST
Consultative Committee of Home Ministry Meets
Contours of Political Solution to Kashmir Problem Likely to Emerge in Next few Months, says Chidambaram
Contours of a political solution to the Kashmir problem are likely to emerge in the next few months. The Union Home Minister, Shri P. Chidambaram said this while addressing a meeting of the Parliamentary Consultative Committee attached to his Ministry here today. The subject of the discussion was “Matters relating to Jammu & Kashmir”. The Union Home Minister said that the first and second reports of the group of interlocutors for Jammu & Kashmir dealt with confidence-building measures. He has asked the group to now focus on finding the contours of a political solution. Appreciating the work done by the group, Shri Chidambaram remarked that it is making good progress.

The Union Home Minister asserted that the Kashmir issue is a political issue for which a political solution must be found. However, peace and good governance are pre-requisites for reaching a political solution. Shri Chidambaram said that the violence being witnessed in Jammu & Kashmir is of two types and a different approach must be adopted to deal with each. The violence perpetrated by militants and infiltrators must be dealt with in a strong and resolute manner. On the other hand, the violence witnessed during protests by residents of Jammu & Kashmir requires deft and sensitive handling.

The Union Home Minister pointed out that after the Government announced the 8-point Plan for Jammu & Kashmir recently, the situation there has improved considerably. This process must be strengthened. Space must be allowed for peaceful protests. Governance and delivery on the ground must improve. Visible presence of security forces must be reduced.

Taking part in the discussions, Members welcomed the steps taken by the Government to improve the situation in Jammu &Kashmir. Some Members felt that efforts must be made to evolve a political consensus on the Kashmir issue at the national level. Members also emphasized the need to create employment opportunities, especially for the educated youth. They also suggested amending the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and speedy rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrants.

Responding to the suggestions made by the Members, the Union Home Minister pointed out that two Special Task Forces – one for Jammu and the other for Ladakh – have been constituted to examine the developmental needs of these regions. The Prime Minister’s Office has constituted an Expert Group under the chairmanship of Dr. C. Rangarajan to formulate a job plan for Jammu & Kashmir. It is expected that the reports of all these groups will be received by next month so that their recommendations can be considered by the Government and factored in the next year’s Budget. The Centre has released Special Plan Assistance of Rs. 100 crore to the Government of Jammu & Kashmir for improving the infrastructure in schools and colleges. On AFSPA, Shri Chidambaram stated that a proposal to amend the Act is under consideration of the Government. He also informed the members about the steps taken for the rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrants.

Drawing attention of the members to the recent positive developments in Jammu & Kashmir, the Union Home Minister pointed out that 5,56,370 tourists visited Jammu & Kashmir this year up to 6th December which shows an increase of about 25 per cent over the number during the corresponding period last year. The Amarnath Yatra this year was one of the most peaceful yatras ever conducted and 4,58,000 pilgrims took part in the Yatra. The Home Minister concluded by saying that efforts must be made to win the minds and hearts of the people of the State.

Those who attended today’s meeting included Prof. Ram Gopal Yadav, Shri Bhubaneswar Kalita, Shri Rishang keishing, Shri H.K.Dua and Dr. Ashok Sekhar Ganguly from the Rajya Sabha and, Dr. Thokchom Meinya, Dr. Rattan Singh Ajnala and Shri N. Dharam Singh from the Lok Sabha. The Minister of State for Home, Shri Mullappally Ramachandran was among those present at the meeting.