Delhi To Re-engage Separatists13 October 2011
Srinagar: With much hyped report on Kashmir submitted by the three interlocutors - Dileep Padgaonkar, Radha Kumar and MM Ansari - failing to make any ground-breaking impact in Jammu and Kashmir, New Delhi is contemplating to reopen channels of communication with the separatist leadership. Invitation for talks is likely to be sent by the Prime Minister Office (PMO) to top separatist leaders in Kashmir and the parleys may be at the Home Minister or the Prime Minister’s level, informed sources told Greater Kashmir. The proposed talks, according to sources, would follow an All Party Meeting on Kashmir where a joint appeal would be made to the Prime Minister to hold direct parleys with the separatists. The report submitted by the interlocutors Wednesday may be one of the key documents to be referred when Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh finally decides to make another serious attempt to resolve the Kashmir issue by engaging with the separatists sometime next year before his proposed visit to Pakistan, sources said. The talks will enable a smoother dialogue with Pakistan. “In order to facilitate the process major demands of separatists, including revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act, reducing the strength of security forces in the Valley, releasing political detainees, will be looked into,” sources said. “Kashmir remaining calm this year has helped New Delhi’s cause. No major incident of human rights violations has been reported from any part of the state. This can help leaders in New Delhi to at least claim that human rights violations in the region have declined,” sources said and added that the Government of India wants to grab the opportunity and reengage with the separatists for “meaningful” talks. They maintained that the government was looking at some radical recommendations that would take care of the concerns of many factions, especially the separatists, that have stake in the Kashmir issue. Talks between New Delhi and Hurriyat Conference (M) have remained stalled since 2005. “An understanding reached between Dr Singh and then Pakistan President Parvez Musharraf between 2004 and 2006 is not entirely a dead letter. These can be revived depending on the political situation in Pakistan,” sources added. The Chairman of Hurriyat Conference (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq believes that till ground situation in Kashmir does not improve talks cannot serve any purpose. “Hurriyat has always reiterated that meaningful dialogue involving India, Pakistan and Kashmiris, only can lead to the resolution of the Kashmir issue. We have never been averse to talks,” Mirwaiz told Greater Kashmir. The Mirwaiz, however, was quick to add that till date holding talks with New Delhi at the Prime Ministerial level has not served any purpose. “We met the then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and his deputy Lal Krishan Advani in 2004. After the change of guard in New Delhi in 2005 we met the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh twice,” he said. Recalling his meeting with Prime Minister Dr Singh he said, “We had requested him to ensure that black laws applicable in JK be repealed, political prisoners be set free, demilitarization of JK and human rights violations should stop. We had told him that killings and talks cannot go together.” “Everything is possible,” Mirwaiz quoted Dr Singh as having told the Hurriyat delegation then. Besides Mirwaiz other Hurriyat leaders who met the Prime Minister included Bilal Gani Lone, Moulana Abbas Ansari, Abdul Gani Bhatt and Fazl Haq Qureshi. “After that meeting none of our suggestions were implemented. Hurriyat believes till India does not give up its rigidity and stops harping that Kashmir is its integral part talks or no talks won’t make any difference,” he added. However, another senior Hurriyat (M) leader said that they have already got feelers for talks at the highest level in New Delhi. While JKLF chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik refused to comment, Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani said they will react when the invitation comes. BACKGROUND Pertinently, in January and March 2004, then deputy prime minister L K Advani held two rounds of talks with the Hurriyat leadership, which did not throw up any concrete solution except the photo ops. But it was for the first time New Delhi had agreed to Hurriyat’s long-standing demand for talks with the highest levels in the government of India. Later Hurriyat (M) held talks with Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh in September 2005. It was the first dialogue since a Congress-party led coalition took power in 2004 and came ahead of the Prime Minister’s talks with then Pakistani President Parvez Musharraf. In May 2006 Hurriyat (M) leaders held fresh talks with Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh. Dr Singh and Hurriyat leaders after the talks had claimed that they had agreed to establish a system to discuss solutions to Kashmir dispute. “To carry this decision forward, we have undertaken to evolve very shortly a mechanism to carry out a continuous dialogue,” Mirwaiz Umar Farooq had told reporters after the meeting. Dr Singh had described the talks as a “meeting of minds. “This augurs well for the future of Jammu and Kashmir, for the people of India and our region,” PM’s then spokesman Sanjay Baru had quoted Dr Singh as having said.