July 2000 News

Ghani Lone''s secret meeting with PM''s Secretary

20 July 2000
The Daily Excelsior
B L Kak

New Delhi: Prime Minister''s Principal Secretary, Mr Brajesh Mishra, has had a secret meeting with senior leader of Kashmir''s All-Party Hurriyat Conference, Mr Abdul Ghani Lone. When did the meeting take place? There is no definite answer, as all functionaries in the Prime Minister''s Office (PMO) have adopted ''mother-knows-best'' policy. Significant, however, is the report doing the rounds in the Indian capital since Thursday morning about the ''secret'' role of Mr RK Mishra, senior journalist, in having facilitated the secret meeting between Mr Abdul Ghani Lone and Mr Brajesh Mishra. Mr RK Mishra, who is known for his close connections with the famous Reliance industrial house headed by Mr Dhirubhai Ambani, has already developed a personal rapport with the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee. ''Double Mishra'' phenomenon-that is, the companionship between Mr Brajesh Mishra and Mr RK Mishra-has quite a bit to do with the Hurriyat Conference of Kashmir. In fact, the report which attracted a good deal of attention of certain political and media circles in Delhi on Thursday, insisted that Mr RK Mishra, following Mr Vajpayee''s ''yes'' to his new role, had emerged as Prime Minister''s man in Kashmir. Mr RK Mishra, the report also insisted, continued to be in ''close'' touch with the Hurriyat leaders. And if this report is to be believed, the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah, had recently spoken against Mr Mishra for creating ''confusion'' within the Valley. Mr Mishra''s ''sin'': His flirtations with the J&K Awami Action Committee chief and former president of the All-Party Hurriyat Conference, Moulvi Umar Farooq. Did Mr RK Mishra offer him the post of Chief Minister in place of Dr Abdullah? Mr Mishra was not available when some mediapersons frantically looked for him to ascertain the veracity of information in this regard. Again, if the report is any guide, while the talks with the Hurriyat leaders are presently at ''an informal stage'', emissaries, who also include Mr RK Mishra and former Union Home Minister, Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, have been assigned the task of breaking the ice. A Delhi-based Kashmiri journalist, who is Mr RK Mishra''s Man Friday, played an important role in influencing him (Mr RK Mishra) on the inclusion of Mufti Sayeed in the Government''s unpublished list of emissaries for the Kashmir peace talks. The Kashmiri journalist is known for his personal equation with the Mufti. According to the report, the Kashmiri journalist had also involved himself in behind-the-scene activity aimed at facilitating Mr RK Mishra''s task in Srinagar. The Kashmiri journalist had a prolonged meeting with Mr Abdul Ghani Lone before his (Mr Lone''s) secret meeting with Mr Brajesh Mishra. Significantly, the report about the involvement of a group of persons enjoying the confidence of the Prime Minister''s Office in the task of opening a line with certain opposition leaders in Kashmir has been circulated at a time when Dr Farooq Abdullah was found toying with the idea of convening an all-party meeting in Srinagar to brief national political leaders on his autonomy package. Again, significantly, all this at a time when the Home Minister, Mr LK Advani, sprang a surprise with his call for fresh proposals from the J&K Government on devolution for more powers to the State. In other words, Mr Advani sought to convey that the Government of India will not like to make the State Autonomy Committee (SAC) report the basis of the proposed dialogue. If the Prime Minister decided against uttering even a word on his talks with Dr Abdullah, Mr Advani deemed it necessary to say something on his meeting with the Kashmir leader. And Mr Advani placed himself on record by saying: ''Dr Abdullah has been asked to come with fresh proposals. We would like a re-arrangement of powers between the Centre and States''.


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