Kashmir talks: Separatists demand bold thinking, offer old ideas

On a mission to restore peace in Kashmir, the all party team held discussions with hardline separatist leaders.

Zeenews Bureau

Srinagar: A group of five leaders from the all party delegation on Monday met hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani at his residence in Srinagar and gave them a patient
hearing but the separatists insisted on withdrawal of Army and
asked the Centre to take bold decisions instead of being in a
"denial mode".

Chairman of hardline faction of Hurriyat Conference
Syed Ali Shah Geelani demanded that Jammu and Kashmir should
be accepted as a "disputed" territory as a pre-condition for
starting the dialogue process with the Centre.

Interacting with five-members of the all party
delegation which called on him at his Hyderpora residence
here, Geelani suggested that Parliament should constitute a
committee to go into all the issues faced by Kashmiri people.

"We have given five-points for starting the dialogue
process for resolution of Kashmir issue which includes
accepting Jammu and Kashmir as a disputed territory,"
Geelani told the team led by CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury.

Among the other conditions laid down by the hardline
leader include initiation of complete demilitarisation of the
state, commitment from the Prime Minister to put an end to the
killings and arrests of youths, unconditional release of all
political prisoners and withdrawal of cases against youths.

He has also sought arrest and prosecution of security
personnel allegedly responsible for killing of youths during
the ongoing unrest.

During the interaction, which was held in full media
glare, the hardline leader said the people of Kashmir were
only demanding right to self-determination as promised by the
leaders of the country from time to time.

"The Indian troops have no justification -- moral or
legal - to occupy Jammu and Kashmir. We are not demanding
secession of any legal part of India but only our right to
self-determination," he said.

Yechury told Geelani that the delegation had come to
convey their sympathies with the people of the Valley and for
initiating a process to resolve the problem.

"It is necessary that peace should prevail in the
Valley. Then we can discuss the disputes and issues," he said.
Lok Sabha MP Assadudin Owaisi also pleaded with
Geelani to give peace a chance.

The other members of the delegation included Ratan
Singh Ajnala (Akali Dal), T R Balu (DMK) and Namo Nageshwara
Rao (TDP).

Although the hardline faction of Hurriyat had rejected
the invitation to meet the all party delegation, Geelani had
said he would not turn away anyone from his door as it was not
in line with the Kashmiri ethos and Islamic Traditions.

Moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umer
Farooq said Parliament should pass a resolution to put an end
to the killings in Kashmir and for initiating a sustained
dialogue process for resolution of the long pending issue.

Interacting with another all-party team at his Nigeen
residence here, Mirwaiz told them the time had come for
Parliament of India to take bold decisions with regard to
Kashmir issue as the Centre has been in a constant state of
denial mode.

"Sitting in Kashmir, we come to the conclusion that the people of India are so ill-informed about Kashmir... Kashmir is an internationally accepted dispute. It is time to call a spade a spade," the Mirwaiz said.

The Mirwaiz suggested the formation of a Kashmir Committee in the Indian and Pakistani parliaments that would exclusively discuss nothing but the decades old Kashmir dispute.

"Let a beginning be made," he said, addressing mainly Communist leader Gurudas Dasgupta.

"We don`t want to live in a constant state of fear and state terrorism," he said passionately while displaying photographs of young boys killed by security forces in firing since June 11.

Dasgupta said while he did not agree with the Hurriyat demand for "azadi", he would raise the issues raised by the Mirwaiz in Parliament.

"We are not here to defend any indignity, not to defend any barbarism, not to support any wrong being done (to Kashmiris)," he said. "We represent different political voices. We have never believed you are Pakistani agents. You are equally Indians."

The Hurriyat chairman responded saying the government
of India should be willing to discuss even the `Azadi`
sentiment as people of Kashmir not only want peace but a
solution to the dispute as well.

Mirwaiz said the institution of dialogue has been ruined by
the continuous "flip-flops" by the Centre and people have lost
faith in the talks.

Mirwaiz also expressed his resentment over the use of
terms like `agitational terrorists`, `Pakistani agents` and
`ISI agents` while describing the present unrest in the

"While we admit that Pakistan is a party to the
dispute, we have not started this movement at the behest of
Pakistan," he asserted.

Mirwaiz along with JKLF chief Mohd Yasin Malik
submitted a joint memorandum to the all-party delegation,
expressing displeasure over what it called "hardline" approach
of BJP on Kashmir.

"It is time to develop a peace process on Kashmir that
is immune to domestic politics and power tussles, both in
India and Pakistan," they said.

"Due to domestic politics in both India and Pakistan,
the windows for working towards a solution to Kashmir have
been narrowed or interrupted and, as a result, the people of
J-K have had to suffer dearly," the memorandum said.

The separatist leaders said it is disconcerting that
the BJP has taken a hard line approach on Kashmir. This
is the same party whose veteran leader and former Prime
Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee went to Lahore and declared from
the base of Minar-e-Pakistan that it is `my dream and wish` to
resolve the Kashmir Issue.

"This is the same BJP which initiated peace talks with
the then united APHC under the chairmanship of Syed Ali Shah
Geelani... this is the same BJP that declared a unilateral
cease-fire in the month of Ramadhan and then offered talks
`under the constitution of Insaniyat`.

"We are now disheartened to see the same party
advocating a contrary view as the principal Opposition in the
Indian Parliament," they said.

"Dialogue and negotiation must come to the front, not
a new chapter of violence and instability. Nobody will gain
and we will all lose, if such a situation develops," they

-Agencies inputs