Talk Or No-Talk, Talk of the town

  • Doors open for talks if Hurriyat believes in Constitution: BJP
  • Hurriyat (G) tight-lipped on talks with GoI
  • Encouraging that Hurriyat ready for talks: Governor
  • Kashmir can be resolved through dialogue, not militarily: Hurriyat (M)
  • Talks must be held with Hurriyat: Farooq Abdullah
  • JK BJP opposes talks with Hurriyat
  • Mehbooba welcomes Hurriyat’s readiness to talk

Doors open for talks if Hurriyat believes in Constitution: BJP
BJP national vice-president and in-charge J&K Avinash Rai Khanna today said they would talk to the Hurriyat leaders only if they believed in the country’s Constitution.

“I have said this before, am saying it today and will continue to say that whosoever believes in the country’s Constitution and wants to talk…our doors are open for them. If they (Hurriyat) don’t respect the Constitution, there is no point talking to them. We want peace and development…maintaining law and order is our priority,” Khanna told reporters on the sidelines of a BJP function here.

He made the comments when asked over the possibility of the New Delhi-Hurriyat talks. Pertinently, Governor Satya Pal Malik had on Saturday said the Hurriyat leaders were ready to talk to the Centre, triggering speculation of the beginning of a dialogue process with the separatists. Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq too had yesterday said that there would be a “positive response” from them in case “meaningful” talks were initiated by New Delhi.

On the party’s stand over the delimitation of the state Assembly seats, he said the BJP had not yet taken any decision in this regard. “No final decision on delimitation yet. We will inform once a decision is taken,” he said.

Khanna was here to take stock of the membership drive that begins on July 6.

“I have come here to review the membership drive. Like other parts of the country, there is a lot of enthusiasm here. The drive will continue till August after which we will go for party elections,” said Khanna.

Hurriyat (G) tight-lipped on talks with GoI

At a time when talks between Hurriyat leaders and Government of India (GoI) are hitting all the right cords, Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani is tight lipped over the issue.

Despite several attempts, no Hurriyat (G) leader including Geelani showed unwillingness to clear their stand on the matter.

Talking to Kashmir Post, Hurriyat (G) spokesperson said Geelani would not talk on the phone and can only provide a written reply on the topic.

However, when this newspaper forwarded the questionnaire, the spokesperson dodged the matter, saying Geelani is feeling unwell to reply.

“Geelani sahib has just finished the prayers and is currently in his room resting. If possible, he will probably reply tomorrow,” the spokesperson said.

Similarly, Tehreek-e-Hurriyat (TeH) chairman Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai also refused to comment on the issue.

“Let Peer Sahib (Geelani) comment on this topic,” TeH spokesperson said.
On Saturday, Governor Satya Pal Malik while addressing a gathering at SKICC said, “Hurriyat is ready for talks with the government.”

“It is the same Hurriyat who had closed doors to union minister Ram Vilas Paswan but now are ready for talks,” Malik had said.

In the past few weeks, Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was making all the right gestures to have a meaningful dialogue with GoI.

The Mirwaiz had stressed that GoI should shun its “oppressive policy” and indulge in a meaningful dialogue to resolve Kashmir issue and stop bloodshed in the Valley.

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti also took to micro-blogging site Twitter expressing her satisfaction over the possibility of dialogue between Hurriyat and GoI.

“Dair aye durust aye.The underlying purpose of PDP-BJP alliance was to facilitate dialogue between GoI & all stakeholders. Tried my best to make it happen in my tenure as CM but relieved that Hurriyat has finally softened their stand,” Mehbooba tweeted.

Encouraging that Hurriyat ready for talks: Governor

Governor Satya Pal Malik Saturday said that it was encouraging to see Hurriyat Conference leaders, who he said had “once shut their doors on dialogue,” ready for talks now. Speaking after launching free set-top boxes of public broadcaster Doordarshan at SKICC here, Malik praised the separatist leadership for their proactive role in addressing social issues.

“Hurriyat leaders who once shut doors on Ram Vilas Paswan when approached for dialogue are now ready for talks. This is an encouraging sign,” the Governor said. Governor Malik also hailed Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq for speaking on drug menace.

Malik said that situation in the Valley was moving towards normalcy. “The stone pelting incidents that used to take place after Friday prayers every week have drastically reduced. Recruitment in militancy ranks has also gone down. The narrative in Kashmir can be changed and problems addressed but army will answer a bullet with a bullet and not bouquets,” Malik said.

Kashmir can be resolved through dialogue, not militarily: Hurriyat (M)

Hurriyat Conference (M) Monday urged upon Government of India (GoI) to take the repeated offer of dialogue of Pakistani Prime Minister, Imran Khan, seriously and favored talks as means of resolution of Kashmir dispute.

The separatist conglomerate said that there was nothing new in the remark of dialogue, but Hurriyat Conference (M) has been saying this since its inception.

A spokesperson of Hurriyat said, “Pakistan PM Imran Khan’s repeated offer of dialogue on all issues between India and Pakistan including the Kashmir issue should also be seriously considered as a way forward.”

“Kashmiris being the most affected party for the past seventy two years naturally want its resolution and since its inception when all parties came together under one umbrella the APHC has been maintaining and reiterating that engagement and dialogue among stakeholders is the best and most peaceful means of resolution of Kashmir issue and not force,” he added.

Stating that the separatists have engaged with both India and Pakistan in the past, the spokesman said, “Hurriyat Conference (M) believes that this issue cannot be resolved militarily or through confrontation but by dialogue and deliberations.”

Talks must be held with Hurriyat: Farooq Abdullah

National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah Monday said that talks must be held with the Hurriyat. “The Governor says Hurriyat has agreed to talks. Then, talks should be held with them,” Abdullah told the media persons, according to Business Standard. Abdullah’s assertion comes two days after Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik said that Hurriyat leaders were ready for talks with the government.

Addressing a function in Srinagar on June 22, Governor Malik said that the Hurriyat leaders were ready to talk, which he called an “encouraging sign”.

The Governor had said that the Hurriyat leaders, who had once shut doors on Ram Vilas Paswan, when approached for dialogue, were “now ready for talks, which is an encouraging sign.”

JK BJP opposes talks with Hurriyat

The Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday opposed a dialogue with the Hurriyat Conference, claiming that any talks with the separatists at this stage would be counter-productive and a retrograde step.

“The Joint Resistance Leadership (a body of separatists groups) should publicly acknowledge the undisputable status of Jammu and Kashmir and it being an integral part of India. They should also commit their loyalty to Constitution of India and seek talks only under its ambit,” state BJP spokesperson Anil Gupta said in a statement.

Gupta said any talks with the JRL or the Hurriyat at this stage without them publicly accepting these pre-conditions would be “counter-productive and a retrograde step”.

Gupta said none of the Hurriyat leaders had signalled any change in their stance and mere appeals for talks with the Centre was no indicator of any change in their mindset, adding that the separatist leaders do not represent the majority of Kashmiris.

“Hurriyat is the perpetrator of most of the problems in Kashmir. And with the inflow of hawala money controlled, they are now strapped of cash and thus asking for talks,” he said, alleging that the Hurriyat leaders continued to promote separatism.

The BJP leader claimed that initiating talks would be a huge setback to the ongoing operations against terror and the terror-support network, of which he said the Hurriyat was a “major culprit”.

“In 2016, the same leadership had spurned the offer of talks within the ambit of Constitution because, at that time, they enjoyed the backing and support of Pakistan,” Gupta said. “The present offer of talks is a mere ruse and time-gaining exercise to regroup and reorganise.”

During his Eid ul-Fitr sermon earlier this month, the Mizwaiz had sought confidence-building measures between India and Pakistan that could facilitate the revival of talks between the two countries.

Mehbooba welcomes Hurriyat’s readiness to talk

PDP president Mehbooba Mufti Monday welcomed the Hurriyat Conference’s willingness to hold talks with the Centre, saying it was ‘better late than never’.

“Dair aye durust aye (better late than never). The underlying purpose of the PDP-BJP alliance was to facilitate dialogue between the GoI& all stakeholders. Tried my best to make it happen in my tenure as CM but relieved that Hurriyat has finally softened their stand,” former Chief Minister Mehbooba said in a tweet.

She was referring to Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq’s call for a tripartite talk between the Kashmiri leadership, New Delhi and Islamabad for resolution of all issues, including Kashmir.

Besides touching on the need for a dialogue during his Friday sermons at Jamia Masjid, the Mirwaiz in his Eid-ulFitr sermon earlier this month had sought confidence building measures between India and Pakistan that could facilitate the revival of talks between the two countries.

Governor Satya Pal Malik, while addressing a function here on Saturday, had said the Hurriyat had softened its stand and were ready for talks after he took charge of the state in August last year.

“The Hurriyat Conference was not willing to talk. Ram Vilas Paswan was standing at their door (in 2016) but they were not ready to talk. Today, they are ready for talks and want to hold dialogue. There is change in everyone,” Malik had said.

The governor’s statement has given rise to speculations that the Centre might be opening dialogue channels with the separatists in Kashmir in near future.