Srinagar: Amid rising hopes that the track-II diplomacy will break the stalemate in restive Kashmir, the backchannel talks have seemingly left united Hurriyat sailing in two boats.
While senior separatist leader and Hurriyat-G Chairman, Syed Ali Geelani, showed flexibility by opening his door to the visiting delegates for some good drawing room talks, his Hurriyat-M counterpart and Kashmir’s head priest Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was equally cordial to interact with the 5-member team led by senior Bharatiya Janta Party leader and former Union minister Yashwant Sinha.
However, their third counterpart and “architect” of the united Hurriyat, Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, Chairman, Muhammad Yasin Malik has been staying away from any interaction with the visiting delegates.
Sources said even though the delegation, particularly former bureaucrat Wajahat Habib Ullah and Sinha, were keen for a one-on-one with Malik, much the way they met his separatist colleagues, the JKLF supremo, presently hospitalized at Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences Soura here has been avoiding any meeting.
Sources said, as per the program framed for the visiting delegates, soon after landing in Srinagar on October 25 at 10:30 AM, they were scheduled to meet Geelani, to be followed by separate talks with Mirwaiz and Malik.
Official sources the security bandobast at SKIMS, Kashmir’s sole tertiary care hospital, was beefed up for Sinha-Malik talks. But Malik has been saying that “situation is not conducive” for any dialogue.
Sources said civil society has been trying to persuade the diplomats and Malik to end the stalemate. “See Hurriyat unity is about one voice of Geelani, Mirwaiz and Malik. If any of them stays away from the common program, the unity looks fragile,” said a political commentator.
People in general look surprised for hardliner Geelani to have held parleys with senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha and others at his Hyder Pora residence. Earlier in August, Geelani had shut his doors to All Party Delegation of Parliament.
This time Geelani even convinced Mirwaiz to entertain the guests. Addressing a press conference at his Nigeen residence after talks with team Sinha, Mirwaiz said Geelani had asked him on phone for talks with the visiting delegates.
The visit of the 5-member team is widely being seen as hope for breakthrough towards end of deadlock, which has left normal life in Kashmir paralyzed since July 8 when militant commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani and his two colleagues were killed.
Apart from other separatists including Shabir Shah, the civil society and Kashmir Inc including the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries and Kashmir Economic Alliance, also held deliberations with the visiting delegates hoping that the talks bring desired results, which take Kashmir towards sustainable peace and prosperity.
While the united Hurriyat has been spearheading the ongoing agitation, it was a month prior to the unrest that the separatist camps had forged unity.
Since then they have a united voice. Soon after their detention, Mirwaiz and Malik in separate statements had reposed faith in Geelani as their leader till they remain behind the bars.
Since then joint Hurriyat led by Geelani has been issuing the weekly protest calendars.
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