Kashmir talks: Separatists demand bold thinking, offer old ideas



Kashmir talks: Separatists demand bold thinking, offer old ideas 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 Valley.

"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 added.

-Agencies inputs