Geelani Wants PM's Response To Dialogue13 November 2010
The Hindustan Times
Srinagar: Hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani said on Saturday that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should accept Kashmir as an international dispute for the separatists to begin a dialogue with the central interlocutors. Reacting to Chief Minister Omar Abdullah's statement that Geelani must engage in a meaningful dialogue with the central interlocutors since his foremost demand to accept Kashmir as an international dispute had been met, the hardline Hurriyat leader Saturday said the acceptance should come from the prime minister. In a statement issued here, Geelani has sought a direct and clear response from New Delhi. 'The prime minister should not shy away from admitting a historical fact', Geelani said. Omar Abdullah had said two days back in winter capital Jammu that the interlocutors had said Kashmir was a dispute which needed to be resolved and also accepted that Pakistan had to be taken on board to bring in permanent peace in Jammu and Kashmir. This, according to the chief minister, was acceptance of Geelani's first and foremost demand, and the same had not been denied by the centre. Omar also said the other four points put forth by Geelani fell within the domain of the state government which was actively engaged in their consideration. Omar wanted Geelani to involve himself in parleys with the central interlocutors. In his 5-point charter of demands Geelani had stated that India must accept Kashmir as an international dispute so that the separatist leadership could engage itself in a meaningful dialogue to resolve the dispute. 'The response to our 5-point demand must come from New Delhi. The position of the rulers in the state is nothing more than an agency responsible for maintaining law and order', Geelani's statement said. The separatist leaders have said they would not talk to the interlocutors nominated by the centre to engage all shades of opinion to find an amicable and permanent solution to the Kashmir problem. Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram has all along maintained that Kashmir is a unique problem which needed a unique solution. For the last five months, Geelani has been spearheading the Quit Kashmir campaign in the Valley in which 110 people have so far lost their lives in clashes with security forces during violent protests called by the separatist leaders to highlight the Kashmir problem. Geelani's protest calendars, issued on a weekly basis for the last five months, have already started fading into the background with the public response to the shutdowns and protests called by him receiving a lukewarm response, especially during the last one month.