Mission Kashmir: Hurriyat Refusal Drives Wedge In Delhi’s ‘Peace’ Initiative

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Srinagar—Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani Monday claimed that an official of the state government approached them for facilitating a meeting of the separatist leader with the Centre’s special representative Dineshwar Sharma who arrived here on a six-day visit to the valley yesterday to hold talks with various stakeholders including the political leadership, traders, youth and various other outfits during a six-day visit.

Hurriayat claimed that its leaders would not meet the Centre’s special representative for Kashmir.

“A state representative, on the intervening night of November 4 and 5, expressed desire to meet the Hurriyat chairman to facilitate his meeting with the designate interlocutor,” a Hurriyat spokesman said here.

He said that according to Hurriyat “forced negotiations” have no political or moral justifications.

“We reject the dialogue offer…It is mere rhetoric and wastage of time and no section of Hurriyat or group will meet designate interlocutor or participate in this futile exercise,” the spokesman said.

Hurriyat’s refusal to take part in the parleys almost ensures the interlocutor will return to New Delhi empty-handed at the end of his tour.

Earlier, Sharma reached Srinagar on his four day visit yesterday and is likely to hold meetings with some 60 delegations.

Sharma is likely to stay in the Kashmir Valley for three days, followed by a two-day visit to the Jammu region.

On the first day around 13 delegations–all non-political were scheduled to meet him, however only eight  met him at Nehru guest house on the banks of Dal lake till this evening, official sources said.

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They said the eight delegations comprised not more than 20 persons.

The opposition national conference and congress have not yet taken any decision whether to meet the special representative of the centre.

Hours before leaving for the Valley, Dineshwar Sharma had said he did not have a magic wand, but wanted to be judged by his actions when he starts the process.

“I do not have a magic wand but my efforts have to be judged with sincerity and not through the prism of the past,” he said adding the entire exercise as a ‘serious effort’, and “one should refrain from fishing in the desert”.

“I am going there tomorrow to be with my people and understand their pain and suffering and find a suitable remedy to their problems,” said the 61-year-old.

Last week, the Hurriyat leadership said Sharma’s assertion that he is coming to Kashmir with the directive from the government to “restore peace” rather than addressing the dispute or its resolution “limits the scope of any engagement” with him and makes it an exercise in futility.

Separatist leaders also objected to Sharma’s comment that he will come to Kashmir “to dissuade the youth from Islam and pursuing their legitimate political aspirations so that Kashmir does not become Syria.

“To compare the internationally-recognized 70-year-old political and humanitarian issue of Kashmir to that of the sectarian war and power struggle in Syria is deception and propaganda as there is no correlation between the two situations,” they said.

The Centre’s interlocutor had said that India’s biggest challenge is to de-radicalise youth and militants, and preventing the Valley from turning into Syria.

“I will have to convince the youth of Kashmir that they are only ruining their future and the future of all Kashmiris in the name of whether they call it azadi [independence], Islamic caliphate or Islam,” he had said.

Meanwhile, state Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has said that Article 370 of the Constitution, which guarantees special status to the state, is the nation’s commitment to the people of J-K and should be honoured.

“Democracy is a battle of ideas and dialogue is the only way forward,” Mufti wrote on Twitter, adding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has a “huge mandate”, can create history by changing the narrative on Jammu and Kashmir.

 

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