Start talks with separatists, others in J&K: Sinha Panel
New Delhi: Government should hold talks with all stakeholders in Jammu and Kashmir including separatists at the earliest besides taking other measures including ban on use of pellet guns and rehabilitation package for those injured in the unrest, a report by a group of private citizens led by BJP leader Yashwant Sinha recommends.
The delegation, which comprised intellectuals, released the report on Tuesday to the media and spoke about the nature of meetings it held with separatist leaders including Syed Ali Shah Geelani and other mainstream politicians.
The report was released by Programme Director of Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation Sushobha Barve, who was part of the delegation. It said Geelani and Hurriyat Chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq “talked of being prepared for an unconditional dialogue” and it was not within the competence of the group of citizens to suggest “when or if such a dialogue process should be started”.
“However, what we would like to emphasis is that we noted an overwhelming sentiment amongst the Kashmiris we interacted with for setting up a permanent process of dialogue with New Delhi.
“One of the reasons why so many doors were opened for us by the separatists and ordinary Kashmiris alike was because they saw our visit as a beginning of engagement with ordinary Indians,” the report said, adding the agenda of alliance of the BJP-PDP coalition government also commits to a dialogue with all the stakeholders.
“We recommend that such a dialogue is initiated at the earliest,” it said.
The group also recommended starting of the process of reopening schools, release forthwith all first time offender school children and minors arrested under Public Safety Act.
It was also recommended that that repeat offenders among minors be shifted out of adult jails and put up in temporarily designated juvenile detention centres and given psychological counselling.
“Compensation must be announced for the next of kin of the civilians killed and for those wounded in police or action by the other security forces. This money may be transferred as Direct Bank Transfer to designated accounts to prevent extortion and rent-seeking from the suffering families by the state bureaucracy.
“Rehabilitation packages must be announced to ensure the life-time income needs of those permanently blinded by pellet guns,” the report said and also recommended that compensation and free treatment (both in India and abroad, if necessary) at state government expense for those who have been partially blinded by pellet guns.