Kashmir unrest: Separatists refuse to meet leaders of all-party delegation, reject Mehbooba Mufti's talks offer

An all-party delegation led by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday held talks with J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti

Kashmir unrest: Separatists refuse to meet leaders of all-party delegation, reject Mehbooba Mufti's talks offer
Pic courtsey: @HMOIndia

Srinagar: Hurriyat leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Sunday refused to meet the leaders of all-party delegation, 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'.

However, four Opposition MPs of all-party delegation decided to reach out to separatists by meeting them separately after they rejected Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti's invitation to them.

"We decided to meet leaders of Hurriyat and Hurriyat apparently decided they will not conduct talks with Parliamentarians coming here. We met Yasin Malik, went to SAS Geelani who at the last moment decided not to meet us. Also met Mirwaiz, Shabir Shah, Abdul Gani Bhat and talked. All of them said that they decided to not talk on this issue," Sitaram Yechury, CPI(M) general secretary, said.

On the other hand, Asaduddin Owaisi of AIMIM) was quoted as saying by ANI, "I am thankful to Mirwaiz sahab (Mirwaiz Umar Farooq) for meeting me, he was quite upset. He said that he cannot talk about the prevailing situation, because their organisation has decided not to talk to any MP."

Regarding the stand taken by separatists, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said, "We had said that if anyone comes to meet us, we will welcome them and listen to them. Will not deny meeting anyone. But nobody turned up even after the invitation was sent by CM of the state. We would have been very happy if they had come. In personal capacity, some leaders chose to meet them (separatists). This was not disclosed in all party meet."

A day after Mehbooba invited separatists in her capacity as PDP chief, separatist leaders Geelani, Farooq (both of separate Hurriyat Conference factions) and Malik (of JKLF) issued a joint statement, rubbishing her and her offer.

"These deceitful methods of crisis management through Parliamentary delegations and Track-Two only prolong the sufferings of the people and can`t take the place of a genuine transparent agenda-based dialogue to address the core issue of the peoples' right to self-determination in J&K," they said.

"That has been our consistent stand and has been spelled out recently as well in our letters to various international and global fora," the statement added, as per PTI.

Meanwhile, an all-party delegation led by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today held talks with Mufti here as it began a two-day visit to J&K.

The meeting, chaired by Singh at Sher-I-Kashmir International Conference Centre soon after the 26-member delegation arrived here, discussed the security situation in the Valley.

It also took stock of those injured in the violent protests since the killing of Hizbul militant Burhan Wani on July 8.

Initially, the delegation was proposed to be of 29 Members of Parliament, but only 26 MPs have come here.

Cutting across party lines, leaders said that they were hopeful of finding a solution for restoration of peace in the Valley which has been in the grip of violent protests that left 71 persons dead and scores of others injured.

On her part, Mehbooba pitched for unconditional dialogue with all stakeholders as she met the all-party parliamentary delegation. She said she was committed to help initiate a "sustained and meaningful dialogue" within the state with political groups, irrespective of the ideological views and predilections of the political groups.

"Met the 'All Party Delegation' at SKICC today and pitched for unconditional talks with all stakeholders," Mehbooba wrote in a Facebook post. 

(With Agency inputs)