Srinagar: After a three-day visit of the strife-torn Jammu and Kashmir, a groups of eminent citizens, led by ex-minister Yashwant Sinha has concluded that the sense of "dismay and despondency" had grown among the people and the situation was "much worse" than their previous visits.
In a release, the Concerned Citizens Group (CCG) has said that during its visit to the state on 17-19 August, they met with some representatives of prominent political parties, office-bearers of the Jammu and Kashmir Bar Association, civil society members from Srinagar, Anantnag, Shopian, Pulwama, and Kupwara in North Kashmir.
They also met with college students.
The report of the CCG, comprising Sinha, Air Vice Marshal (Retd) Kapil Kak, Sushobha Barve (Executive Director, Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation) and journalist Bharat Bhushan was released on Monday.
"The most disquieting conclusion of the interactions this time around was that as compared to the previous visits, the sense of dismay and despondency in the people had grown", the group said.
They said the proximate reasons for this not only seemed to be the "lack" of dialogue with the Kashmiris but also because tourism had plummeted, hotel business was in dire straits, there was flight of capital and an overall economic downturn leading to greater unemployment and economic distress.
The CCG had visited the Valley several times during the unrest last year.
"The situation (this time around) was much worse than the previous two years", the release said quoting the third report of the Concerned Citizens Group (CCG).
Sinha, a BJP veteran leader, was the Minister for Finance and External Affairs in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.
The group said the distance between rest of India and the Kashmiri youths seems to have "increased". This was evident in the fact that even the people who used to talk reasonably earlier were using "the language of the militants and separatists this time".
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