Kashmir Separatist Leaders react to Mehbooba’s invitation
To find a solution to the ongoing unrest in Kashmir Valley, an All party delegation on Kashmir led by Home Minister Rajnath Singh reached Srinagar early this morning. Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti had invited separatist group, All Parties Hurriyat Conference for talks, which they rejected. Mufti had sent a two page letter requesting the Hurriyat to “take the lead and engage with the All-Party delegation of parliamentarians”.
In a statement issued today, the Hurriyat conference rejected the invitation and said that the All party delegation has not spelt out its mandate. Syed Ali Shah Geelani, a separatist Hurriyat leader from Jammu and Kashmir, chairman of the Awami Action Committee, moderate wing of Hurriyat Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Chairman of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front Yasin Malik said that the meeting was meaningless as All party meeting has no clear agenda of engagement.
In one of his statements to Indian Express, Geelani said that only if India accepts the disputed nature of Jammu and Kashmir and starts demilitarization, they would welcome any move forward. “We believe that even after deadly conflicts and destructive wars, things are settled only through dialogue. But given the long and deceptive nature of the talks on Kashmir, we have witnessed this exercise more than 150 times without yielding any results till date”, Geelani said.
In her facebook post, Mehbooba Mufti said in order to restore peace in the Valley, both the separatists and the centre will have to take a step forward. She mentioned the condition of the Valley saying that Kashmir is again embroiled in a burning situation. “We have hope that all sides will pick up elements of sanity and pragmatism and strike a new benchmark towards the resolution of the problem in light of the global and sub-continental realities”, she added.
Violent clashes in the Valley have claimed 71 lives since the encounter of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani on 8 July. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) and Communist Party of India (CPI) had asked the government to approach All Parties Hurriyat Conference as they were major stakeholders. Although Rajnath Singh agreed to include the separatists in the meeting, he said that the meeting was kept only for those who wanted peace in the Valley.