Church official welcomes dialogue seeking peace in Kashmir

(UCAN) An offer by the Indian Government to conduct talks aimed at stemming secessionist violence has been welcomed by a Church official in the Muslim-majority state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Secessionists have yet to agree to enter into discussions.

However, Father Saiju Chacko, who directs the local church’s social works in Jammu and Kashmir, said he is optimistic about potential for dialogue to help resolve the long-running conflict.

Father Chacko said the government should constitute a joint committee of people who respect the sentiments of Kashmiris and also form a special parliamentary committee.

This followed a statement by Federal Home Minister Rajnath Singh, ahead of a four-day visit to the disputed area, that he is willing to speak with all stakeholders.

“Anyone who helps us in resolving the problems pertaining to Kashmir, I am willing to meet him,” Singh said.

Previously, the government has refused to talk with militant groups fighting Indian rule. [More]