Congress Core Group meets to discuss Kashmir crisis

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New Delhi, Sep 10 (ANI): The Congress Core Group met at Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh's residence here on Friday to discuss ways to deal with the current crisis prevailing in the Kashmir Valley.

It has been reported that at the Core Group meeting, which was attended by Congress President Sonia Gandhi along with a host of other party leaders, discussions pertaining to ways and options to restore peace in the valley was discussed.

The meeting assumes significance as it comes against the backdrop of Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah's insistence on amendments to the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act AFSPA) or its partial withdrawal from the state

Earlier on Thursday, Omar Abdullah met met Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Defence Minister A K Antony to seek their supports for his demand for amendments in the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act.

Abdullah, who met Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Thursday, had then highlighted the need for making AFSPA more humane, and requested Dr. Singh to kick-start a political dialogue with the separatists at the earliest.

"Yes, I have requested the Prime Minister to take a decision on amending the AFSPA or at best withdrawing it from some areas where it was not required. To begin with we may choose four districts in the state on experimental basis. Some calculated risks have to be taken. Let us see," said Omar Abdullah after his meeting with Dr Singh, which lasted for around 45-minutes.

"If I am not hopeful, I won't be here," he added, when asked whether the ongoing turmoil in the Valley would come to an end.

Earlier talking to a group of editors at his residence on September 6, Dr Manmohan Singh said: "A meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security is being called shortly to discuss the situation in the Kashmir Valley. I cannot promise you that I will produce a rabbit out of my hat, the country must learn to be patient."

"Also the Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir Government are looking out for options to address the concerns of the Kashmiris," he added pointing out that the Kashmir problem has existed for 63 years and Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi had all attempted to tackle it.

Earlier on Monday talking to reporters after holding a public rally at Bhalwal village near Jammu, Abdullah said Jammu and Kashmir problem requires a unique solution, as the accession of the State with India was in different and unique circumstances than that of other States of the country.

"We are trying that all issues be resolved through dialogue. Centre has also brought this on record-both in the Parliament and outside it that dialogue should be initiated in Jammu and Kashmir. Jammu and Kashmir requires a unique solution as the accession of Jammu and Kashmir with rest of the country was in extremely unique circumstances," said Abdullah.

"India was in different and unique circumstances then that of other states of the country. Geelani has put forth some issues, Give the Centre a chance as they are examining these issues and they will respond accordingly. I am hoping that the response should be of the kind which can improve the situation," he added.

When asked about his recent statement on revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), Abdullah said: "I have not said any such thing. I have said we are thinking on it and we are discussing the issue with Centre. We have got two options with us."

"First is that the harsh side of AFSPA be subdued. Second option with us is that where there is hardly any impact of militancy and where the role of Army is not required from those areas AFSPA can be removed in a phased manner. For which we are working for identifying some districts of Jammu and Kashmir," he added.

Police has also imposed restrictions on the movement of people in nine districts of the Valley as a precautionary measure. The curfew was lifted in Kashmir Valley on Thursday morning.

Over sixty-nine people have been killed in the ongoing unrest in the Valley till date. (ANI)

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