Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh is likely to visit Jammu and Kashmir for three days from Saturday in an apparent outreach attempt to bring peace in the state, a home ministry official said. Singh will visit Jammu, Srinagar and Leh and meet civil society members, leaders of political and social organisations, business leaders and others, the official said. During his interactions, the home minister will receive people’s representations on how to bring a lasting peace in the restive valley. The home minister will also meet Governor NN Vohra, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, and civil and security officials. The visit comes about three weeks after Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said bullets or abuses will not resolve the Kashmir issue and it can only be addressed by embracing every Kashmiri. The home minister himself had said on August 19 that a solution to the Kashmir problem, besides terrorism, Naxalism, and the northeast insurgency will be found before 2022.
Former prime minister Manmohan Singh, who heads the Congress’ policy planning group on Kashmir, will also lead a team of party leaders to Jammu and Kashmir next week for discussions on the current situation in the state with party workers and “like-minded” groups. A group of citizens, led by former union minister Yashwant Sinha had visited Jammu and Kashmir on August 17-19 and prepared a report which said the sense of “dismay and despondency” had grown among the people and the situation was “much worse” than their previous visits.
In September 2016, the home minister had visited the state leading an all-party delegation which met about 200 members from 30 delegations from various sections of society and listened to their point of view to arrive at a common solution to the Kashmir issue. However, the separatists had rebuffed attempts by five opposition MPs to talk to them.