Yashwant-led delegation meets Hurriyat leaders in Kashmir
After a civil society delegation led by BJP leader Yashwant Sinha met separatist leaders here, moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Tuesdaysaid they were not against dialogue but wanted the issue to be resolved through meaningful tripartite talks involving New Delhi, Pakistan and the people of Kashmir.
“Let me make it absolutely clear, as far as Hurriyat is concerned, whether (Syed Ali Shah) Geelani, (Yasin) Malik or me, nobody has ever been opposed to any engagement or dialogue but the problem is dialogue for what?
“Our main focus is resolution of Jammu and Kashmir, acknowledgment of the fact that Kashmir is a dispute, acknowledgment of the fact that India, Pakistan and Kashmir have to work together for resolution of Kashmir issue, the fact that right to self-determination for the people of J-K is non-negotiable,” the Mirwaiz told reporters after meeting the five-member delegation at his Neogene residence.
“They (the delegation members) told me that they have no mandate from any government and have come here in their personal capacity and represent the civil society. Sinha said even though he is a member of BJP, he has not been active recently and that he came here to understand the situation.
“I think he also accepted that the issue of Kashmir needs to be understood in its real perspective and addressed. Our biggest issue is that the government of India wants to change the perspective or dilute it by terming it as a law and order problem or security issue or by talking about incentives,” he said.
The moderate Hurriyat chairman said he told the delegation that Kashmir is a political issue and till this political issue and dispute is addressed in its historical context, no peace and no incentives will work here.
“I told them that whenever situation like this arises in Kashmir, delegations come here but when the situation comparatively improves, the government thinks that it can militarily and forcefully control the situation. Then no one comes forward and no one talks about dialogue,” he said.
The Mirwaiz said he told the five-member delegation that they have to show courage and tell the people of India the reality and what the people of Kashmir want.
“...as they are here for a couple of days and will meet many other people, I am hopeful they will understand the real situation here and try to tell the truth to the people of India at least even if the government is not ready to listen,” he said.
The Mirwaiz said everybody is for dialogue, but there has to be reciprocity on that.
“Last time when an all-party parliamentary delegation came, it was a joke. We were told to give a time and place of our choice (by chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, who wrote a letter to the separatists), but how can we do that when we were in jail. It was not a serious exercise, it was a PR exercise.
“They just wanted to create an impression that they were serious to engage but they are not serious, they have never been serious,” he said.
The separatist leader said the government needs to be clear in terms of where they stand. “This present dispensation in Kashmir has clearly lost it morally and ethically. They have no right. The way in which they have come down on their own people, we are ashamed of it,” he said.
He said the government should create a conducive atmosphere by releasing the separatist leaders and those youth who have been put in jails and allow Hurriyat leaders to talk to each other.
“I have been released last night. I have not been in contact with anyone for the last 58 days during my confinement,” he said.
On the meeting with the Sinha-led delegation, the Mirwaiz said he put forth his stand before them.
“As far as this delegation is concerned, they clearly said it is their independent initiative and do not represent any government. Let’s assume it is track two or three...it is good,” he said.