Kashmir situation improving: President Pranab

New Delhi: The situation in Kashmir is improving, President Pranab Mukherjee said today after winding up his two-day visit to the Valley during which he interacted with a cross-section of the population besides being briefed by Governor N N Vohra and Chief Minister Omar Abduallah.

“I got a good impression that things are improving,” he told journalists on board the IAF aircraft on his way back from Srinagar when asked about his assessment of the situation.

Mukherjee said that he had met a large number of groups and discussed a variety of issues. They included Fruit Growers Association, Saffron Growers Association, Artisan Association, led by JKPCC President Saifuddin Soz, Akhil Bhartiya Gujjar Mahasabha, All Parties Sikh Coordination Committee and Jammu and Kashmir Pahadi Association.

He said he was particularly impressed with the fact that girls constituted 85 per cent of the recipients of merit awards he had given at the convocation of the Kashmir University in Srinagar yesterday.

In the convocation address, he sought to reach out to the people of the state acknowledging that there were grievances and promised to ensure every Kashmiri lives with dignity.

The President said both the state and central governments were determined to ensure that people of Kashmir live with dignity having equal rights and equal opportunities.

The President, who took a motorboat ride on the Dal lake yesterday, said that the de-weeding work had helped clean large parts of the water body.

Last night, the President met a group of intellectuals and told them that Vice Chancellors and educationists should imbibe Rabindranath Tagore’s spirit of universalism and pluralism.

He called upon them not not just to achieve high standards but also maintain them on a sustained basis.

The intellectuals the President met included Prof. Abdul Wahid, Vice Chancellor, Central University of Kashmir, Dr S S Bloeria, Vice Chancellor, Central University of Jammu, Prof.

Talat Ahmad, Vice Chancellor, Kashmir University and Dr Tej Pratap, Vice Chancellor, Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology.