No Talks, First Clarify Position: Hurriyat Tell Yashwant Sinha
SRINAGAR: Rejecting the offer of talks without Islamabad's involvement by the former external affairs minister, Yashwant Sinha-led delegation, Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front chief, Yasin Malik, said Friday New Delhi must come clean on its "contradictory stances" on the Hurriyat.
"On one hand, they call the Hurriyat as non-entities. India suspended the process of dialogue with Pakistan because of our proposed meeting with (Pakistan's foreign minister) Sartaj Aziz. Now, the delegation (led by Sinha) wants us to hold talks with New Delhi minus Pakistan," Malik, who is part of the unified Hurriyat leadership spearheading the ongoing agitation in Kashmir, said.
"How can Indians on one day claim Kashmiris to be a non-entity and on the second day Pakistan as irrelevant regarding Jammu Kashmir issue," Malik said.
The JKLF chief was addressing a rally in Kulgam district of south Kashmir where an aspiring engineer and a blogger, Basit Ahmad, who had joined militants recently, was killed in an encounter with security forces early this week. Tensions are running high in the areas of Kulgam and Anantnag where a complete shutdown was observed on Friday and clashes left many protesters injured.
"Nothing has been more detrimental to the interests of Kashmiris other than power and election politics. Martyrs are our real heroes and we as a nation are indebted to their sacrifices," a JKLF statement said, quoting Malik.
During their recent visit to the Valley, a senior Hurriyat leader said, Sinha has offered to mediate in starting a "credible" dialogue process between New Delhi and all the separatist leaders. In an interaction with journalists on December 14, Sinha admitted the task was not easy.
"But we believe our efforts will yield good results. Let people of Kashmir initially start a dialogue minus Pakistan with India. I don’t think it is an impossible task. Something positive may definitely emerge,” Sinha said.
Experts feel that the Hurriyat's rejection of the offer of talks by Sinha-led delegation will keep the Kashmir Valley on the boil but it may also push New Delhi to "look for a window" in Islamabad if the two countries are serious about resolving the issue.
"Its obvious the Hurriyat will not come on board for talks without Islamabad's nod. The separatists are under one banner today which gives India an opportunity. The two countries should forget their acrimonious past and build a new future by resolving the issue of Kashmir," Prof Sameer Yasir, who teaches International Relations at Islamic University of Science and Technology in the Valley, said.
(Cover Photograph BASIT ZARGAR: A winter morning on the Dal Lake in Srinagar )