July 2004 News

Hurriyat says we miss NDA, PDP doubts Cong motives

7 July 2004
The Indian Express
Muzamil Jaleel

Srinagar: Despite the pleasant buzz of Indo-Pak bonhomie, disturbing noises are getting louder in the Valley—in three distinct strains. One A question mark hangs over the Centre’s Kashmir dialogue, with key Hurriyat interlocutor Maulvi Abbas Ansari stepping down as its chief today telling The Indian Express that the UPA government is ‘‘insincere’’ in contrast to its predecessor, the NDA. Advertisement Two The Congress, which leads the UPA at the Centre, is being accused by its partner, the PDP, of playing local politics, openly attacking Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed. Says PDP chief Mehbooba ‘‘They (Congress) politicise every issue. They remind you every time that you are a Muslim-majority state in a Hindu- dominated country.’’ And, three PDP leaders allege that Governor Lt. Gen (rtd) S K Sinha is ‘‘interfering’’ in day-to-day governance, a charge Raj Bhavan denies. First, Ansari. ‘‘This new government has not shown sincerity towards the talks process,’’ he said today after his resignation. ‘‘They say one thing one day and the other the next day. They have been putting conditions...the previous government (NDA) was, however, sincere. They had accepted us as the representatives of the aspirations of Kashmiri people; they didn’t put any conditions and also agreed to hold the talks at the highest level.’’ Hurriyat’s Ansari faction has now named Mirwaiz Umar Farooq as its interim leader aiming to get the various factions on board. ‘‘They (the Centre) wants to talk to all. So we will try to gather all together so that we can speak in one voice,’’ he said hinting that the next round of talks could get delayed. At the state level, the Congress is busy playing the Opposition against its ally. Said party’s state vice president Abdul Gani Vakil ‘‘The law and order machinery is in disarray and the police totally out of control and is careless. The government does not look like a government in the real sense.’’ When asked why he was openly critical of his partners, Vakil said that the coordination committee framed to address such issues was defunct. ‘‘We have not left even a single forum to push for our genuine concerns but we failed.’’ Meanwhile, relations between Mufti and Governor Lt. Gen (rtd) S K Sinha couldn’t have been worse. Sinha, as chairman of the Amarnath Shrine Board, extended the yatra by a month ‘‘unilaterally,’’ which was rejected by Mufti. The Congress’s Jammu camp immediately stepped in to back Sinha—four ministers even resigned in protest against Mufti accusing him of hurting ‘‘Hindu sentiments.’’ Asked why the Congress’s Jammu camp made the yatra a big issue, Vakil said ‘‘Our intention was not to allow this issue to be exploited by BJP and Shiv Sena who are our main opposition in Jammu’’. He said that after Governor Sinha raised the issue, the BJP and Shiv Sena would have turned it communal in any case. ‘‘By raising this issue, we killed two birds with one stone.’’ The Mufti-Sinha tussle is also deepening. Sources said the Mufti government was not happy with Sinha for ‘‘interfering into adminstrative affairs of the government’’. The differences surfaced soon after Sinha said that he would like to be a ‘‘active Governor’’ immediately after he took over. ‘‘He (Sinha) would seek reports directly on developmental as well as security issues. We would know about it only after Raj Bhawan would ask for the state plane to visit districts,’’ a senior official said.


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