Track II Diplomacy:Team From New Delhi To Meet Separatists Today

Srinagar: In an effort to initiate track-two diplomacy, a team comprising at least six members is likely to visit Kashmir today to break the logjam Kashmir has stuck into since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani on July 8 triggering widespread protests across the valley.

Confirming the visit of former Union Minister for External Affairs Yashwant Sinha and other high profile dignities to Kashmir, former Chairperson of the National Commission for Minorities and Chief Information Commissioner of India, Wajahat Habibullah said the delegation is meeting a number of people in the valley.

“We’re happy the government has released Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and it would be pretty easy for us to meet him at his residence, Information Wajahat Habibullah, told Kashmir Observer. “It would have been rather difficult for us to meet him in prison.”

Stating that it is not the initiative of the government of India, Wajahat Habibullah confirmed the team will also endeavour to meet Hurriyat (G) Chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani. “It’s very much a private initiative and we would like to meet a cross section of people in Kashmir,” he said.

“We would very much like to meet Geelani Sahab also and know his view point,” he said when asked whether the team would meet Syed Ali Shah Geelani also. “We would also like to meet Yasin Malik also but we understand he is not keeping well.”

The team will call on Malik at SKIMS Soura where he receiving treatment at the moment.

Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq had refused to meet the leaders of all-party delegation led by Home Minister Rajnath Singh that visited Kashmir last month (September 4).

Four opposition MPs of all-party delegation including the senior communist leader Sita Ram Yachuri broke away from the group and decided to reach out to separatists by meeting them separately. Geelani had, however, turned them back from the door of his Hyderpora residence attracting condemnation from various quarters. It would be interesting to see whether the octogenarian leader, known for his hard-line stance, would the team this time around.

Hurriyat (M) chairman Mirwaiz Molvi Umar Farooq was released from Chesh Mashahi Sub Jail and placed under house arrest at his Nageen residence ahead of the visit of a nongovernmental team of politicians and peacemakers coming for parleys to Srinagar.

A top police officer not authorised to speak to the media said on condition of anonymity that Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was released Monday evening and taken to his Nageen residence.

Hurriyat leaders including Yasin Malik are likely to be released shortly to clear the ground for talks between track-II team and the separatist leadership.

The team is also assigned to take assessment of the present situation in the Valley and to present a report before Delhi. It is also assigned to see and try ways for initiation of fresh rapprochement and re-conciliation process.

According to the informed sources, the team headed by former Union Others who are part of the delegation include: member of parliament Jai Ram Ramesh, Rajya Sabha member from Karnataka and former Union Minister for Rural Development, Former Chairperson of the National Commission for Minorities and Chief Information Commissioner of India Wajahat Habibullah, Former Air Vice Marshal, Kapil Kak,Journalist (Editor of Catch News) Bharat Bhushan, and Executive Director, Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation Sushoba Barve.

 “Yes Yashwant Sinha and other members of the Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation are visiting Kashmir tomorrow. I am also the part of the delegation and we are going to meet a number of people in the valley to assess the situation,” Sushoba Barve said.

She said that the centre for Dialogue and reconciliation had also brought a small group in the Kashmir valley in the month of August. “The group had also met different people in the valley,” she said.

Barve added that visit of the delegation is organized by the centre for dialogue and reconciliation. “I want to inform you that whosoever is coming, is coming at his own expenses,” she said when asked that is it the initiative from the government of India.

Sources said that in an effort to initiate track two diplomacy, the team has been assigned to take assessment of the present situation in the Valley and to present a report before Delhi.

At least 95 people, most of them young protesters, have been killed and more than 15,000 injured in clashes with government forces in a span of over three months. Hundreds of young boys and girls have been injured in their eyes due to pellet injuries. Many of them would never be able to see again.

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