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All-party team to visit Jammu Tuesday

Tuesday, September 21, 2010 11:44:18 AM, IANS

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Indian political leaders held ice-breaking talks Monday with Kashmiri separatist leaders in the glare of television cameras after three months of unprecedented street violence left 102 people dead in the valley and New Delhi grappling for ways to restore peace. After »

Jammu: The all-party team led by union Home Minister P. Chidambaram, which is on a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir, arrives in Jammu Tuesday afternoon from Srinagar.

The 39-member delegation, which is visiting the state to get a sense of the ground situation before deciding on steps to defuse tensions, will meet a cross section of people here, including political groups and Kashmiri Hindu migrants and traders. The region's major political group Jammu Kashmir National Panthers Party (JKNPP) has decided to boycott it.

Contrary to the tension in Srinagar, it was business as usual in Jammu.

"We will project our point of view and tell the delegation how each time trouble breaks out in the Kashmir Valley, Jammu suffers," said Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Y.V. Sharma.

"This time, we are again at the receiving end because our trade has suffered on two counts - our stocks are rotting here and we are not getting orders from there; our money is locked on both sides," Sharma told IANS.

Many political leaders here, especially those from smaller groups espousing the cause of regional equality like the JKNPP, feel that the visit of the team to Jammu is just a "tag along".

"This all party delegation has done what it did, by reaching out to separatists in the valley, and projecting their cause, rather than countering the secessionist propaganda," JKNPP president Balwant Singh Mankotia said.

The common person had little expectation and said the delegation would "do no good" to Jammu.

"The delegation has a partisan approach. This was amply demonstrated when the delegates visited the separatists in Srinagar," said an unemployed Amit Sharma who is in his 30s.

"Did they visit any of the migrant properties that were burnt down by rioters in the past three months. Not only that, they did not even utter a word about the absence of the Hindu population in the valley," said Vasundhara Jalali, a migrant who teaches in a private school here.

The delegation will be here until Wednesday morning. Its visit to the volatile Kashmir valley, where more than 100 people have been killed since June 11, resulted in ice-breaking talks with Kashmiri separatist leaders in the glare of television cameras.

After Hurriyat leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) refused to meet the all-party delegation that flew in from New Delhi, the visiting politicians broke into small groups and met the three prominent faces of the two decades old separatist movement.

Besides Chidambaram, the delegation includes Parliamentary Affairs Minister P.K. Bansal (Congress) as well as Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj of the Bharatiya Janata Party.






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