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J&K: Centre not to bank on Hurriyat to end Valley logjam

There are indications that Centre may toughen it’s stand vis-à-vis separatists in Kashmir valley. Information emanating following Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s meeting with Prime Minister seem to suggest that the government was not going to accord “special status” to Hurriyat Conference leaders in matters of engagement.

The separatists had rejected Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s invitation, terming such a measure as “deceitful” and insisting that it cannot be an alternative to a “transparent agenda-based dialogue to address the core issue.”

“A delegation consisting of members from 20 political parties flew down to Srinagar to engage people. If some have decided to not recognize the Centre’s outreach gesture it’s to their disadvantage,” said a senior official.

Sources said the Centre was considering curbs on their foreign travel by withdrawing passports and denying travel documents in some cases. Besides these, the Centre would also scrutinise their bank accounts and complete investigations in pending cases against them to send out a strong message to those provoking youths in Kashmir Valley to create disturbance since the killing of Hizbul militant Burhan Wani. The government may also scale down the security which they enjoy at the exchequer’s cost.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who led the all-party delegation to Jammu and Kashmir to assess the situation, briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday’s visit. The delegation would be meeting in Delhi on Wednesday and submit a report to the government based on their interactions with individuals and groups.

The delegation was in Srinagar on Sunday and had visited Jammu before returning to Delhi. Before winding up the visit, the Home Minister sent out a clear message to separatists, asserting that Jammu and Kashmir would always remain an integral part of India. He, however, said as far as talks were concerned, doors were open to everyone who wanted peace and normalcy. 

Singh had said, opposition leaders tried to meet the Hurriyat Conference in their individual capacity, but what the separatists did was neither Kashmiriyat nor Insaniyat.

Officials in the MHA said that with the Hurriyat Conference leaders refusing to entertain the members from all party delegation visiting Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti may have considerably gained in establishing the futility of engaging the separatists to end ongoing violence in the Valley. Mufti has held the ground that the violence was outcome of the “mischief by a mere five percent” who did not believe in the peaceful resolution of the crisis.

Hurriyat leaders had on Sunday last snubbed Mufti’s invitation to meet the visiting delegation led by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh with prominent leaders like Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Former state CM Ghulam Nabi Azad, CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury and JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav on board. The delegation consists of 30 members from 20 parties.

The attempts by five opposition members to reach out to separatists had come a cropper with hardline leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani even refusing to meet them. Four MPs —Yechury, CPI’s D Raja, Sharad Yadav and RJD’s Jay Prakash Narayan, broke away from the group and went to meet Geelani at his residence where he is under house arrest.

They were greeted with slogans outside the residence whose gate was not opened for them. Geelani saw them from the window but refused to meet the parliamentarians.
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