Hurriyat Kept Out From Talks Initiative
SRINAGAR: The Hurriyat leadership has been conspicuously kept out of the Centre’s fresh outreach to resolve the crisis in Kashmir with the union home minister Rajnath Singh meeting the chief minister Mehbooba Mufti here Thursday.
Singh, who arrived here yesterday with a team of senior home ministry officials, met the chief minister at Nehru Guest House and the two discussed the prevailing crisis in the Valley where 68 civilians have been killed in retaliatory action by government forces against protesters.
Yesterday, the home minister had met the Governor NN Vohra to take stock of the situation in the Valley even as a youth was killed while more than 100 protesters were admitted to various hospitals with firearm injuries.
While delegations of National Conference, Congress and the ruling PDP-BJP combine called on Singh in Srinagar, the Hurriyat has ruled out meeting the home minister, saying that talks under Indian Constitution are “wastage of time”.
The Hurriyat Conference, whose leaders including veteran Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Geelani, JKLF chief Yasin Malik and moderate Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq are either under house arrest or in jail, has extended the shutdown call till September 1.
“Despite our 70-year long struggle with all its death and destruction, India’s imperialistic attitude is still same. Talks under the Indian constitution are nothing but wastage of time and it has been going on for the last seven decades,” Geelani said in a statement.
The Hurriyat patriarch said any talks within the framework of Indian Constitution “is out of question” and “until India accepts Kashmir as a disputed territory and start demilitarization, our struggle will continue come what may”.
The home minister’s second visit to the Valley hasn’t raised much hope of breakthrough with political analysts terming it as a “time-buying exercise”. Also, the looming elections in the state of Uttar Pradesh and tanking Indo-Pak relations might influence the BJP-led Centre’s policy on Kashmir.
“Nothing is going to come out of New Delhi’s fresh outreach because it is not a simple matter of coming and meeting people. Details matter. Whom are you going to talk to, what are you going to talk about and when will you talk?” Sidiq Wahid, a political analyst and former vice-chancellor of Islamic University in Kashmir, said.
“The fact that conditions are being set before even the talks could begin make the whole process meaningless,” he added.
68 civilians have been killed while over 6000 are wounded, hundreds of them disabled with broken limbs and smashed eyes, after a civil uprising broke out following the killing of Hizb commander Burhan Wani on July 8 in Kashmir.