Geelani, Mirwaiz To Meet KC Team; Malik Opts Out1 June 2011
Srinagar: In its fresh initiative after a long hiatus, the revived Delhi-based Kashmir Committee led by noted jurist Ram Jethmalani is arriving in Srinagar on Thursday, with a series of meetings with separatist leaders and trade bodies lined up over a four-day visit. Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq have already consented to meet the four-member team that includes Madhu Kishwar, VK Grover and Waheed-ur-Rahman besides Jethmalani, but Muhammad Yasin Malik has announced to give it a wide berth, accusing the Kashmir Committee of splitting the united Hurriyat Conference and being anti-Kashmir. Geelani’s faction of the Hurriyat said that the Committee had asked for an appointment over a week ago, and that a meeting had been fixed for 3 p.m. on Thursday. “We have no problems in meeting the Committee as it is a non-government initiative,” the Hurriyat (G) spokesman, Ayaz Akbar, said. When reminded that his alliance had refused to meet New Delhi’s interlocutors, Akbar said that it would have no objections in engaging the panel if India accepted the Hurriyat (G)’s five-point proposal. Mirwaiz Umer Farooq said that the Committee was slated to have a meeting with him at around 4:30 tomorrow for an “open discussion on all aspects of the Kashmir issue.” The JKLF chairman, Muhammad Yasin Malik, said that he had decided not to meet the Committee as it (the Kashmir Committee) would do “more harm than good to the interests of Kashmir.” “Ever since it came into existence, the Kashmir Committee has tried to damage the interests of Kashmiris,” Malik said, adding that the Committee had contacted him twice in the past month for a meeting during its current visit. “When I was admitted in the AIIMS during my detention in 2001, Jethmalani and Kishwar met me in hospital, putting pressure on me to participate in Indian elections,” he said. “What Jethmalani said after I refused is part of history,” he said. “Similarly, Madhu Kishwar invited me to her conference in New Delhi in 2010 where a number of individuals with vested interests claiming to be working in the name of Kashmiri Pandits had already been planted who did their utmost not to allow me to speak,” he said. “We were subjected to humiliation in the conference, for which Madhu Kishwar should have tendered an apology on moral grounds,” he said. “Instead, the lady brought out a series of newspaper articles trying to prove me a dangerous communalist,” he said. “The Committee has also had a major role in breaking up the Hurriyat Conference whose unity was crucial for Kashmiris and their interests,” he said. “Since the Kashmir committee is anti-Kashmiri and working against Kashmiri interests, the JKLF has decided to reject its invitation,” he said. “The JKLF favours talks and constructive interaction and believes that the Indian civil society and public circles have an important role in getting the Kashmir issue resolved,” Malik said, adding that it was his party that had taken the initiative to bring Indian civil society and intellectuals to Kashmir and encourage them to work among the masses.