Centre welcomes Mehbooba's all-party meet, says rise above political differences

| Updated: Jul 21, 2016 18:10 IST

New Delhi, July 21 (ANI): Minister of State in Prime Minister's Office (PMO) Jitender Singh today welcomed the all-party meeting convened by Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to discuss the prevailing unrest in the valley and said this is an occasion to rise above all political differences. Singh described the meeting convened by Mufti as a welcome step, adding a healthy decision should always be held in a democratic nation. "We would expect that all political parties come forward to take part and those who are hesitant, who are tending to boycott or avoid these meetings will have to do a lot of explaining because had the Chief Minister not called this meeting then precisely these are the political parties, who would have accused her for not reaching out to them," Singh told ANI. "If she is making a visible attempt to reach out to them, they are trying to avoid it. It is they who are politicking (this issue)," he added. Singh appealed to all the political parties to unitedly face this challenge, adding the PDP-BJP coalition government should be committed to tackle this crisis. Meanwhile, an all-party meeting is presently underway at the Sher-i-Kashmir International Conference Centre in Srinagar. However, the National Conference has boycotted the meeting stating that it would be 'meaningless' to hold such discussions unless a credible, effective and humane leadership is re-established in the state. National Conference legislator Ali Muhammad Sagar in a statement yesterday said it was extremely unfortunate that although the Chief Minister saw it apt to call a meeting of the civil society in Srinagar within days of protests breaking out, it has taken almost two weeks to call a meeting of all political parties. Around 44 people have been killed and over 3,000 persons, including 1,600 civilians, have been injured in clashes between the youth and security forces during protests following Wani's killing. Meanwhile, the separatists have decided to extend their shutdown call up to July 25 even as the authorities have clamped curfew in certain regions. (ANI)