Truce In Valley, Ceasefire On Border. Will Talks Follow?

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SRINAGAR — A chorus of statements has emerged from New Delhi about the dialogue with Hurriyat and Pakistan. Though the talk about talks has been ambiguous, as rightly pointed out by Hurriyat, the chorus can’t also be dismissed right away. For it has also been backed up by some improvement in the atmospherics in the relations between India and Pakistan.

On Tuesday, India, Pakistan DGMOs decided to go back to “ceasefire understanding of 2003” and ever since the International Border and the Line of Control have been calm, the first time in weeks.

Adding to the prospect of the engagement further, the joint separatist leadership comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik in a recent statement have supported “a sincere, meaningful, a result-oriented dialogue”.

However, the things are much more complex than what the statements emanating from New Delhi would reveal. Much like the discourse in New Delhi about the futility of engaging with the Hurriyat, the separatists also have a longstanding narrative about the pointlessness of talking to the centre in addition to a profound sense of grievance. For them, the basic issue about the dialogue with New Delhi is also what the latter is ready to concede in terms of a political settlement and the impossibility of such a settlement without taking Pakistan on board.

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So, they reckon that the BJP government in New Delhi does not possess kind of the open-mindedness such an engagement requires.

In an important statement on Monday,   the Joint Resistance Leadership comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik have made it clear they are not against talks. But they have questioned New Delhi sincerity in this regard.  

“We want New Delhi to clear its ambiguity about the engagement. But it hasn’t appeared to us so far that the leaders mean what they say,” Mirwaiz said adding New Delhi had done everything to crush Hurriyat.

“New  Delhi has gone the whole hog against us, trying to implicate us in false cases to undermine our legitimacy. But this has not succeeded.”

Sources in Hurriyat, however, say they have received no feelers from the centre for the talks, nor would they ask for any engagement in the absence of the “seriousness” that was needed for such a dialogue.

So, the situation, as of now, is uncertain. All that seems conspicuous is that a certain degree of rethink is in progress in New Delhi. But whether it materializes in dialogue is difficult to tell. 

Dialogue with Hurriyat and most importantly with Pakistan is the most natural thing to follow unilateral ceasefire. Only such a gesture will encourage a reciprocation to truce from the other side. 

“Things seem to be falling into place with a ceasefire in Pakistan and now on the border,” said a Hurriyat leader. “But only a serious talks process will make a real difference”.

 

 

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