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SRINAGAR (Indian Occupied Kashmir): A day after Pro-Pakistani Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani spurned home minister P Chidambaram’s dialogue offer, moderate separatist Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Sunday followed suit, saying the talks will have no meaning because the Union government is “lacking in sincerity”.
Geelani, meanwhile, asked New Delhi to fulfil the promise of giving Kashmiris the right to self-determination. “Pandit Nehru promised Kashmiris the chance to decide their fate in 1948, but never fulfilled the promise,” he said. “Nehru showed the sky but snatched the ground beneath our feet.” He asked people to observe Pakistan’s foundation day as “a day of solidarity” on August 14 and called for observing August 15 as a “black day”.
The 37-year-old Mirwaiz said he had proposed specific measures like demilitarisation, revocation of repressive laws and release of political prisoners to build trust to take the dialogue process forward and provide much-needed relief to the people. “But, unfortunately, these demands were not heeded,” he said.
This showed New Delhi’s lack of sincerity, the Mirwaiz said, which in turn has discredited the institution of talks. “In less than two months, around 50 people, mostly children and teenagers, have been killed and all forms of repression are in place,” he said, and added, “Where’s the scope for engagement when a virtual reign of terror has been let loose on the people demanding their basic rights?”
Geelani and the Mirwaiz haven’t, in the past, agreed on engagement with the Centre, and the hardline octogenarian Geelani even broke away from Hurriyat when the Mirwaiz-led separatists held two rounds of talks with the BJP-led NDA government, which first brought the separatists to the negotiating table in January and June 2003. The UPA government picked up the threads and held separate talks with the Hurriyat, JKLF leader Yasin Malik and People’s Conference chief Sajjad Lone in late 2005 and early 2006. A “quiet dialogue” between the Mirwaiz and the Centre broke abruptly after Hurriyat leader Fazlul-haq Qureshi was critically injured in an attack in Srinagar earlier this year. Qureshi was seen as a facilitator of the engagement and had earlier brokered talks with Hizbul Mujahideen. The Mirwaiz said India and Pakistan were clear on their terms of engagement with the Hurriyat. “(They were) based on two principles: All parties recognised Kashmir as a dispute and displayed willingness to resolve it (and) that dialogue was a way forward to the issue’s final settlement in accordance with the people’s wishes and also taking into account the positions of India and Pakistan,” the Mirwaiz said.
Meanwhile, Geelani met a delegation of Srinagar-based Kashmiri Pandits, who complained of harassment, and assured them safety. “Geelani became emotional and told us that we’re a part of Kashmir and our safety is the majority’s community’s primary duty,” Srinagar-based Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti leader Sanjay Tickoo told TOI. “Geelani told us that if anything happens to us, it would be like a wound inflicted on his body,” added Tickoo. TOI.
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