Govt committed to democratic process: PM Modi


New Delhi, 27 June: Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi has expressed his commitment to making Jammu and Kashmir close from the bottom of his heart.

Modi also said that the necessary democratic process would be adopted to bring Jammu and Kashmir closer to the heart and Delhi. Prime Minister Modi, during a meeting with leaders of all parties in Jammu and Kashmir, also stated that he was committed to strengthening and improving relations.

A crucial meeting to chalk out the future political course of action in Jammu and Kashmir, convened by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, began on Thursday with the attendance of 14 leaders, including four former chief ministers.

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 attending the meeting at the prime minister’s residence.

The four former chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir who attended the meeting are 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," Ms. 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, who is also a spokesman of the six-party People's Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD).

Mr. Tarigami is among the 14 Jammu and Kashmir leaders invited to the all-party meeting at the prime minister's residence. PK Mishra, principal secretary to the prime minister, and Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla were in attendance as well.

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