Delhi’s Firm NO To Talks

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New Delhi: BJP led union government Friday categorically told the Supreme Court of India that it will not hold any talks with the separatists in Kashmir but said was ready to talk to only ‘recognised political parties’ to resolve the crisis there.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi made it clear that the government would come to the negotiating table only if the recognised parties participate in the dialogue and not the separatist elements.

It is considered a clear rebuff to Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which is the alliance partner of BJP in the state and has signed an Agenda of Alliance that calls for dialogue with all stakeholders to resolve the Kashmir dispute.

Attorney General made the submissions before a bench, comprising Chief Justice JS Khehar and Justices DY Chandrachud and SK Kaul, while rubbishing the claim of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association that the Centre was not coming forward for discussion and dialogue to resolve the crisis.

The Bar Association wanted talks to be held with Hurriyat leaders without the condition that it must be within the framework of the Indian Constitution.

Rohatgi said recently the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister of the state held a meeting to discuss the situation.

“Dialogues have to be initiated by political leaders, not in courts,” Rohatgi told the Bench.

“Who is stopping them from having a dialogue? They can meet the Chief Minister or the Prime Minister,” the Attorney-General said.

The bench asked the Bar Association to come with suggestions to resolve the crisis, including stone-pelting and violent agitation on the streets of the Kashmir Valley.

The apex court made it clear to the bar body that it would have to come out with suggestions after talking to all stakeholders and cannot shy away by saying that they do not represent everybody in Kashmir.

It said there was need for a positive start and the bar body could play an important role by coming out with a game plan and a roadmap for restoring normalcy in the Valley.

The bench also made it clear to the Centre that the court would involve itself in the matter only if there was a view that it can play a role and there was no jurisdictional issue.

“If you feel the court has no role and if you feel we have no jurisdiction, we will close the file at this moment,” the bench told the AG who, at the fag end of the hearing, objected to some of the suggestions made by the bar body including that the separatists were being ignored.

The bench also said both the parties have to take a joint step but the first step has to come from the lawyers’ body which has approached the apex court.

It also said it was aware that the situation in Kashmir Valley was not very palatable, while posting the matter for further hearing on May 9.

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