February 2003 News

Separatists Term Vohra's Appointment As 'eyewash'

23 February 2003
The Daily Excelsior

Srinagar: Two top separatist groups in Jammu and Kashmir - Hurriyat Conference and Democratic Freedom Party - have said the appointment of former Home Secretary N N Vohra as the new pointman on Kashmir is nothing but an eyewash for the world community and a delaying tactic. 'This is nothing but an eyewash for the international community. Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee is going to Kuala Lumpur to attend the NAM summit and before going there the Government wanted to give an impression that they have resumed the dialogue process,' DFP president Shabir Ahmad Shah told PTI here. Shah said changing of Government's interlocutor on Kashmir to hold talks with the sections of people here was a futile exercise. 'The Government of India does not have a definite policy on Kashmir and lacks seriousness and sincerity to resolve the long-pending issue. I do not think Mr Vohra is going to make much of a difference. K C Pant was not able to change anything in the stalemate on the dispute,' he added. Shah questioned the logic behind holding talks with the so-called elected representatives of Jammu and Kashmir saying they already accepted the Indian stand on Kashmir issue. 'They (elected representatives) are their own people ... But we are not against the move. We believe in a dialogue process but it should be sincere, he said. Sources close to the Hurriyat Conference's powerful executive committee said the conglomerate was not enthused by the appointment of the new pointman. More The question here is that if the Government has changed the interlocutor, what about its stand and the agenda for the talks, the sources said. 'If it is the same old wine in a new bottle, then what can we expect from Mr Vohra,' they asked. Expressing views similar to those of Shah on the timing of Vohra's appointment, the sources said the Hurriyat was of the opinion that the NAM summit will have a serious impact on the minds of people in India and Pakistan. They claimed that international pressure on India was mounting. 'Australian Foreign Minister said Kashmir was a dispute and New Delhi and Islamabad should talk over it ... Malaysian PM said Kashmir needs to be resolved as per the United Nations resolution. There have to be some stop gap measure ahead of Vajpayee's visit,' the sources said. The sources said the Hurriyat leadership was of the opinion that the Centre was trying to force the amalgam into submission. 'What do you infer if they decide to close our office in Delhi and then ask us to talk? it is like putting a revolver to one's head and ask him to submit,' they added.


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