New Delhi: An all-party meeting on Wednesday gave the government enough wriggle room to seek a political solution to the latest crisis in Kashmir.

It appealed to the government to talk to “all stakeholders", implicitly suggesting that even the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, identified as separatists, be included in the dialogue.

The political consensus creates room for the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) to recalibrate its otherwise strident stand of no talks with separatists and, thereby, widen the political dialogue to defuse the violent unrest that has disrupted life in the Kashmir valley for close to two months now.

While emphasising that there was no place for violence in a civilised society, the all-party delegation appealed to the government to take steps to ensure functioning of the government offices, educational institutions and commercial establishments.

If accepted by the government, the suggestion that the government open talks with Kashmiri separatists will also dent Pakistan’s ability to foment unrest.

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India has accused Pakistan of stoking unrest in Jammu & Kashmir. Last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told another all-party meet that a large amount of arms and ammunition had been seized, pointing a finger at Pakistan for arming militant groups fuelling the unrest.

“The members have unanimously prepared a statement and expressed serious concern over the situation. The delegation feels there’s no place for violence in a civilised society and there can be no compromise on the issue of national sovereignty," said Jitendra Singh, minister of state in the prime minister’s office.

The problem for the parliamentary delegation and the government is that most of the separatists, including Hurriyat Conference, had refused to meet the members of the all-party delegation during their visit to Srinagar on 4 September. This is the first all-party delegation to Jammu & Kashmir since the violent clashes broke out between security forces and protesters in July. However, Union home minister Rajnath Singh has visited the Kashmir valley three times since then, including as head of the all-party delegation.

“All parties have the same concern—that schools, colleges, business and tourism be opened and normalcy be brought. This is the immediate solution. There are other things which need to be taken up in the long run. The problem cannot be solved till all the stakeholders are consulted. Our stand is that all stakeholders should be consulted," said senior Congress party leader Mallikarjun Kharge.

The series of violent clashes between security forces and protestors began after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter in south Kashmir on 8 July. The all-party delegation visited Jammu and Kashmir on 4 and 5 September.

Though the delegation recommended that the government must initiate the dialogue process with all stakeholders, there was no unanimity on removal of the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, or Afspa, from the state.

However, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah took to social media to dismiss the efforts of the delegation. “I’m struggling to find a single achievement that the all-party delegation can lay claim to after visiting J&K. Nothing comes to mind as yet!" he tweeted.

Political analysts were more charitable in their assessment.

“Very positive development on the ground, that Kashmir being a sensitive state, the government has been able to bring all parties speaking one voice. It is a landmark achievement that after Goods and Services Tax, it is the second time in recent times that the government has managed to get all parties on board. More interesting will be the modality of how they wish to restore peace. The intent is there but the big question is how," said A.K. Verma, a Kanpur-based political analyst and political science professor at Christ Church College.

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