Reports Won’t Work: Separatists23 February 2011
New Delhi: The move of the Kashmir interlocutors to include the demands of the separatists in their report to the Centre has failed to enthuse most of the pro-freedom leaders who maintain that it was high time for improving ground situation in the Valley and resolution of the Kashmir dispute rather than making mere recommendations. Chairman of Hurriyat Conference (G), Syed Ali Shah Geelani, said mere inclusion of his five conditions in the interlocutors’ report will not change the ground situation in Kashmir. “However, instead of implementing the conditions, innocent Kashmiris were killed by the soldiers and cops last year. Authorities launched a crackdown on the people and separatists by implicating them in false cases and booking most of them under PSA to crush the peaceful movement,” Geelani told Greater Kashmir from New Delhi. The veteran leader, who spearheaded the ‘Quit Jammu & Kashmir Movement’ last year, had set five ‘minimum’ conditions for reviewing the protest agitation. The conditions included accepting Kashmir as a dispute, start of demilitarization, revocation of special powers to armed forces, release of political prisoners, guarantee from Prime Minister that no further killings or arrests will take place and conviction, under war crimes, of soldiers and policemen involved in civilian killings. “If India is serious and sincere to resolve the dispute, it should implement the five conditions on ground in Kashmir,” he said. The acting chairperson of Hurriyat Conference (M), Prof Abdul Ghani Bhat, said instead of “wasting time” in accepting recommendations and reports, the Government of India should shun its rigid stand and resolve the Kashmir dispute. “Mere inclusion of our five points by the interlocutors in their report won’t resolve the dispute. The points including demilitarization, revocation of special powers to armed forces, release of political prisoners have to be implemented on the ground without further delay to pave way for permanent resolution of Kashmir. This will help to put an end to bloodshed and human rights violation in the Valley. But before reaching out to any solution, the aspirations of people of Kashmir and their leadership must be acknowledged and incorporated,” Prof Bhat said. The Chairman of Peoples Conference, Sajad Lone, whose vision document for resolving Kashmir- ‘Achievable Nationhood’- has also been incorporated in the interlocutors’ report, said it is too early to comment on the matter. “The objective of Achievable Nationhood is to start discussion on Kashmir dispute and its resolution. But we have to wait and watch in what context the interlocutors have used it,” Lone said. The interlocutors had sent invitations to separatist leaders including Geelani, Mirwaiz and Muhammad Yasin Malik, but only Geelani has received the invite so far. Though Geelani was scheduled to return to the Valley from New Delhi on Tuesday, and discuss the interlocutors’ invite for talks, he could not reach Srinagar as Delhi Police barred him from traveling back to the Valley. SHAH DECLINES TALKS OFFER On a day when New Delhi appointed Interlocutors arrived in the Valley ahead of submitting their final report to the government of India, a senior separatist leader, Shabir Ahmad Shah, turned down the panel’s invitation for talks, claiming that the atmosphere was not conducive for such an exercise. Shah was the only separatist leader who had in 2002 accepted invitation for talks offered by Kashmir Committee headed by Ram Jethmalani with the chief interlocutor Dileep Padgaonkar as its member. The interlocutors’ panel had formally invited Shah, who is also chairman, Democratic Freedom Party, for talks. “I have received formal invitation from the interlocutors. I have nothing personal against Dileep sahib but unless conducive atmosphere is created, there is no possibility for talks,” Shah told a press conference here. “They have asked for a roadmap. They should understand that we want Azadi. What roadmap do they need when our goal is clear? We believe United Nations resolutions form the basis for resolving the problem. I am ready to hold a meaningful and purposeful dialogue in this backdrop,” he said. In 2001, Shah had met KC Pant who was appointed by the centre as first official interlocutor on Kashmir in April 2001. That time DFP which is now a constituent group of Hurriyat Conference (M) led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, was operating independently. Shah, however, said that the final decision on the issue rests with the Hurriyat Chairman Mirwaiz. Shah’s decision would be a major set back for the interlocutors who would have been looking towards him to start dialogue process with separatists. The interlocutors have delayed submitting report to the Union Home Ministers and they are reportedly waiting for response from all separatist including Hurriyat Conference (G) Chairman, Syed Ali Geelani, and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, whom they have formally invited for talks. Shah said there has been no progress on the recommendations by interlocutors. “The panel had recommended demilitarization, release of detainees, and prosecution of the personnel involved in killings during last summer. There has been no progress.” He asked New Delhi to act on these recommendations so that ground is prepared for a dialogue process otherwise holding talks in “this atmosphere will be a futile exercise.” Shah said the pro freedom parties in Kashmir were not against dialogue but talks cannot be held when “harassment of the people” is going on. Opposing trifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir on regional lines, Shah said “Radha Kumar one of the interlocutors has stated that Kashmir needs Azadi while as Jammu needs Azadi from Kashmir. I have visited many places in Jammu and Ladakh and talked to people who matter and found that they are for the resolution of Kashmir. It is also beyond doubt that people in Jammu city are not for Freedom but Jammu is not only about the city,” Shah said. He urged international community to impress upon India to implement UN resolutions on Kashmir. Shah welcomed the resumption of dialogue process between India and Pakistan however he said bilateral talks wouldn’t help resolve Kashmir. “Dialogue has to be tripartite,” he said. Meanwhile the interlocutors arrived here this afternoon after completing their Jammu visit. The panel is expected to meet the members of civil society groups, journalists and religious leaders during their stay here.