New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Thursday held a crucial meeting with 14 political leaders of Jammu and Kashmir, including four former chief ministers, to chalk out the future course of action in the union territory.
The meeting is the first between the Centre and mainstream Jammu and Kashmir politicians after the abrogation of Article 370 and the division of the erstwhile state into two union territories in August 2019.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval were among those attended the meeting at the prime minister’s residence.
The four former chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir who participated in the discussions were Farooq Abdullah, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti.
“I will keep my agenda in the meeting and then talk to you,” Farooq Abdullah said before the meeting started.
Asked about PDP chief Mehbooba’s comments that India should initiate dialogue with Pakistan, the NC leader said, “Mehbooba ji is the president of her party. She has the right to speak. I have my own. I don’t want to bring in Pakistan. I am going to talk to our own prime minister.”
“If India can talk to the Taliban in Doha (Qatar), why not Pakistan,” Mehbooba had said earlier,
With no agenda announced for the meeting, the leaders from Jammu and Kashmir said they have come with an open mind.
“We have not been given an agenda. We will be attending the meeting to know what the Centre is offering,” said CPI(M) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami, a spokesperson of the six-party People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) and among the 14 leaders invited.
P K Mishra, principal secretary to the prime minister, and Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla were in attendance as well.