New Delhi, May 20 (IANS) The Congress on Saturday expressed “deep concern” over the situation in Jammu and Kashmir as it held the maiden meeting meeting of its policy planning group on the state.

Party leaders “freely and frankly” expressed their views on the situation in the Kashmir Valley at the meeting held at former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s residence here.

“The leaders expressed deep concern over the situation in the valley,” Congress leader Ambika Soni said.

Among those who attended the meeting were Ghulam Nabi Azad, Karan Singh, Rigzin Zora, Tariq Hameed Karra, Shyam Lal Sharma and Ghulam Ahmed Mir, who heads the Congress in Jammu and Kashmir.

She said all the efforts undertaken by the earlier Congress-led UPA government in Jammu and Kashmir over a decade appeared to have been washed away.

“There is a long history of initiatives taken at different levels by the UPA government and Congress leadership,” she said.

On April 19, Congress President Sonia Gandhi set up the policy planning group under the chairmanship of Manmohan Singh in the wake of widespread protests in the Kashmir Valley.

The move came after a delegation of Congress and National Conference leaders from the state met party Vice President Rahul Gandhi.

The Congress has been critical of the Modi government and the PDP-BJP coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir over the handling of the situation in the state.

Ambika Soni said a decision regarding the next meeting would be taken by Manmohan Singh.

This is published unedited from the IANS feed.