Manmohan Singh with other senior Congress members during an executive meeting in Srinagar. (PTI)
A Congress delegation, led by former prime minister Manmohan Singh, concluded its two-day visit to Kashmir today, after holding discussions on the current situation in the valley with a large number of delegations representing a cross section of society.
The party's 'policy planning group on J-K affairs' returned to New Delhi this afternoon after two days of meetings and interactions with various groups, Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) president G A Mir said.
Mr Mir said over 54 delegations and groups, involving about 1,200 people, met the panel. "It was a fruitful visit and the people in the valley responded because there was credibility as it was led by a former prime minister. The interactions...are the first indicator that people want peace and discussions," he said.
He said the delegations, groups and some individuals from different shades of the society of Kashmir met the group and apprised them of the ground situation and the reasons behind the prevailing unrest and alienation of the people arising out of the resentment of the mishandling of the situation by the present central and the state governments.
"They also gave them inputs of the feelings and aspirations of the people from different nook and corner of Kashmir Valley, especially the failures of the present dispensations and the betrayal of the mandate of the people by the ruling dispensation," he said.
The delegations also referred to the various working groups and interlocutors' recommendations, including the Justice Sagheer Committee report, and sought their implementation as a way forward to restore the confidence of the people, Mr Mir said. "They also mentioned about various confidence building measures and initiatives taken during the UPA regime. They regretted that the present dispensation at the Centre and in the state have failed to carry forward that process," he said.
"Almost all the delegations called for evolving a consensus at the national level and debate the issue in Parliament," he added.
The Congress state president said the policy planning group would visit Ladakh by the end of this month or early next month.
The panel will compile a report and submit to the party high command, which will then decide the party's future course of action, he said.
The panel was formed in April this year after the situation in the valley worsened because of widespread violence by agitators during the Srinagar Lok Sabha bypolls.
The group met various delegations from Kashmir, including opposition parties, bar association, LoC trade delegation, minority delegation, fruit growers association, women's delegation, hotel and houseboat associations, tour and travel delegation, and panchayat delegation.
Meeting separatist leaders was not part of the group's agenda.