BJP distances itself from parleys with separatists

The BJP distanced itself from the discussions some of the all-party delegation members had with separatists as the team headed by Home Minister P Chidambaram wrapped up its visit to the Kashmir valley.

Updated: Sep 21, 2010, 19:09 PM IST

Srinagar: The BJP distanced itself
from the discussions some of the all-party delegation members
had with separatists as the team headed by Home Minister P
Chidambaram wrapped up its visit to the Kashmir valley.

As the 36-member delegation moved to Jammu as part of
its assessment of the ground situation in the state, BJP
Sushma Swaraj said the discussions three teams had with
hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, moderate
faction leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and JKLF leader Yasin Malik
was not part of its mandate.

"No, no, it was not a mandate. It was not discussed in
the delegation. Some of the members expressed their desire to
go there. Naturally the delegation leader said you can go,"
she said.

However, CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury, who met
Geelani, said that they put forward the desire to meet the
separatists before the delegation and there was no opposition
from the BJP.

He said the whole idea of being a part of the
delegation was to tell the people of Kashmir that "we are not
to discriminate with anyone and would like to meet everyone."

On the delegation members meeting separatists leaders
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said this was scheduled.

"We had only worked towards it to make it possible. I
am happy that it worked and the delegation got views of every
shade of opinion in the Valley.

"The delegation has come obviously to get a report
about the ground situation here and we were accused of stage
managing ...but we tried to ensure that the delegation meets
as many people as possible," he said expressing satisfaction
over the delegation`s visit to the state.

The second day of the visit began with a surprise
visit by Lok Jan Shakti leader Ram Vilas Paswan driving to the
residence of Geelani during which he raised the issue of
minorities like Kashmiri Pandits and Sikhs living in the
Valley.

PTI