May 2018 News

Separatists To Take Call On Centre's Talks Offer Today

28 May 2018
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Azhar Qadri

Srinagar: Three key separatist leaders in Kashmir are likely to hold a meeting on Tuesday to discuss and take a final call on the dialogue offer by the Central government. The meeting is likely to take place at the residence of Syed Ali Geelani and will be attended by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik. The three separatist leaders refer to themselves as Joint Resistance Leadership, an issue-based coalition which they had formed two years ago. Sources said, 'the leaders will take a final decision and then issue a joint statement about it.' The separatist leaders have so far stopped short of rejecting the dialogue offer made by New Delhi and also regarding the ceasefire, a major confidence-building measure announced earlier this month by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. On Saturday, the Union Home Minister also said New Delhi was ready for dialogue if the Hurriyat was 'ready to come to the table for talks.' Rajnath Singh's offer of dialogue and ceasefire are the most visible indicators in the past decade that New Delhi is seriously considering a policy of talks with the separatists. The separatists have been cautious in their reaction so far and have avoided any impulsive or uncalculated response. In their joint statements, they have also left windows open for possibilities of further negotiations. In response to the ceasefire, the three separatists had described it as a 'cruel joke', mainly objecting to its limited time period of one month and instead demanding a 'permanent peace.' In the recent months, Geelani has repeatedly said his 2010's five-point proposal should form the basis of talks. The five points proposed by Geelani include repeal of 'black laws', demilitarisation of populated area, release of political prisoners and recognition of Kashmir dispute. Peoples Democratic Party vice president Mohammad Sartaj Madni on Monday expressed hope that Pakistan and the Hurriyat would respond to New Delhi's offer and help relieve people of the subcontinent from sufferings. Madni said, 'The involvement of Pakistan and the Hurriyat in resolving the Kashmir problem can become a reality soon.' Addressing a public gathering at Kulgam in south Kashmir, he said the Indo-Pakistan confrontation and perpetual insurgency had wreaked havoc and people of Jammu and Kashmir had suffered the most.