Peoples Democratic Party leader Waheed-ur-Rehman Para on Wednesday asked the government why is it “difficult” for it to engage in dialogue with the people of Kashmir when it can hold talks with China.
He was speaking to reporters after the first meeting of the Peoples Democratic Party following the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under Article 370 of the Constitution on August 5 last year.
Authorities allowed several leaders to leave their residences after remaining in detention for over a year.
Besides Para, PDP leaders Abdul Rehman Veeri, Ghulam Nabi Lone Hanjura, Khursheed Aalam, and Suhail Bukhari attended the meeting convened by the party’s youth wing here.
Para said the party will continue to raise the voice of the people.
“This government claims to be a strong government and we accept it is. It likes to accept challenges,” he said.
If the government can take part in the Afghan peace process and talk to China, “why is it difficult for you to engage with the people of Kashmir through dialogue and reconciliation”, he asked.
India is holding talks with China at the diplomatic and the military level to defuse tensions along the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh where troops of the neighbouring countries have been locked in a standoff since early May.
Para claimed there was an atmosphere of fear in Kashmir since August 5 last year.
“Those who speak up are detained. Even journalists who write stories are booked under the UAPA. There is an atmosphere of fear,” he said.
The PDP had convened a meeting earlier this month but police did not allow several party leaders to leave their residences.
Party president Mehbooba Mufti, who was arrested on August 5 last year, remains under house arrest.