October 2017 News

Traders, Civil Society Cold On Talks With Interlocutor

30 October 2017
Kashmir Reader
Jnaid Nabi Bazaz

Srinagar: A meeting for seeking opinion on whether to hold talks with Government of India (GoI)-appointed former spy chief Dineshwar Sharma has received a cold response from trade bodies and civil society members. The meeting was called by the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), a conglomerate of various business organisations in the Valley, after the appointment of Sharma last week. It had invited various trade bodies and civil society representatives. 'All the members who were invited did not participate. There was less gathering; however, there was a difference of opinion. A common streak of all participants was that the interlocutor should talk to Hurriyat first, instead of business groups. At the end, no conclusion was reached. It was decided to meet again,' sources told Kashmir Reader. KCCI president Javed Ahmad Tenga described the meeting as having been 'related to GST and other issues, and not about talks'. Professor Hameeda Nayem, a member of the Kashmir Centre for Social and Developmental Studies, a civil society group, told Kashmir Reader that a meeting was called for the discussion, however a consensus could not be evolved. 'It is clear now that the purpose of talks is divisionary in nature. It is the same old thing, to buy time and nothing else. This is the same consensus among various analysts,' Hameeda said. 'We had put our opinion across, but there was no consensus. It was decided to meet again, no meeting was called so far,' she said. At present there is no one on the ground from the pro-freedom camp and civil society groups who have welcomed the move. All of them see it with a sceptical eye. Contradictory statements from the ruling BJP have only added to this. National Conference (NC) too has not yet made any decision about it. Its general secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar told Kashmir Reader that the party is yet to decide. 'There is first no clarity from the central government about it. It will be premature to say anything about it. Yes, whether we meet or not, NC will always push for autonomy for all the regions of the state,' he added.