The way Hurriyat leaders shut doors for some members of all-party delegation, the peace loving people of Jammu & Kashmir feel betrayed. They feel that instead of acting as representatives of the people of the Valley, Hurriyat leaders are more loyal to their Paksitani masters
Deepak Zazia in J&K
Former head of the Hurriyat Conference, Abdul Gani Bhat, is absolutely right when he expressed his anguish over “unwise” decision of the separatist leaders to shut door for some members of all-party delegation, who had gone to meet them during their visit to Srinagar. Abdul Gani Bhat, who has been sidelined in the Hurriyat Conference for his pro-dialogue approach, is of the opinion that separatists should have been “graceful” in receiving the members of the parliamentary panel who had visited their residences on September 4 during their stay at Srinagar.
It is widely perceived that by adopting adamant attitude, the Hurriyat leaders have missed the opportunity to prove themselves as well-wishers of the people of Kashmir. Instead of seizing the opportunity of meeting with the members of all-party delegation to suggest some measures to restore peace in the Valley, Hurriyat leaders rather adopted adamant approach due to directions from across the border. After Hurriyat leaders shut doors for the members of all-party delegation the peace loving people of Kashmir are saying that instead of acting as representatives of people of the Valley, the Hurriyat leaders appear to be more loyal to their Paksitani masters.
The all-party delegation had visited Kashmir valley on September 4 and attempted to reach out to several separatist leaders, including Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik. “We should have been graceful, no two opinions about it,” Bhat told some mediapersons. “I am sad about it (shutting doors), I am upset about it. It shouldn’t have happened,” he said.
Gani Bhat, who is a moderate in the separatist camp and an advocate of dialogue, said the separatists should not allow themselves to be “caught in darkness”. “Now that it has happened, we should not allow ourselves to be caught in darkness. We must come out of it and move towards light. Mornings are much better than dark evenings,” he said, suggesting a more moderate approach should be taken. Bhat said few parliamentarians from the delegation had visited him at his office and he received them “respectfully and they left gracefully”. “We exchanged little pleasantries amongst ourselves and, more importantly, discussed nothing,” he said.
Notwithstanding claims of some groups, by and large visit of all-party delegation to Jammu & Kashmir was successful because a large number of socio, political and religious groups came forward to meet the visiting all-party delegation.
After winding up two-day visit to all-party delegation, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh was optimistic even as he lashed out at the separatists for their refusal to meet the MPs. Rajnath Singh, however, said that conduct of Hurriyat leaders was against democracy, humanity or even ‘Kashmiriyat’ (Kashmiri ethos). Shri Singh led the delegation of 28 MPs from 23 parties, which stayed overnight in Srinagar before stopping over in Jammu. After spending a few hours in Jammu on September 5, it returned to Delhi the same day.
The Home Minister disagreed with the view that the mission was a failure and said the delegation had “very good interactions” with individuals and groups. Before winding up the Kashmir leg of the visit, Shri Singh sent out a clear message to the separatists, asserting that the state will “always” remain an integral part of India. “There should be no doubt that Jammu & Kashmir was, is and will always be integral part of India,” he said at a press conference in Srinagar on September 5.
“As far as talks are concerned, our doors are open to everyone who wants peace and normalcy. Not only doors, even our ventilators are open for talks,” Shri Singh said. He said he was aware that Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had written letters to separatist leaders inviting them for talks with the delegation. “I want to clarify that some members of the delegation had gone to meet Hurriyat leaders yesterday. Neither had we said ‘yes’ nor ‘no’ (to their meetings). Whatever happened you know about it. I do not wish to go into the details. “But whatever information those friends gave us upon their return, it can be said it was not Kashmiriyat. It cannot be called as Insaniyat (humanity). When someone goes for talks and they reject it, it is not jamhooriyat (democracy) as well,” he said.
After reaching Delhi, all-party delegation passed unanimous resolution in which delegation advocated dialogue with all stakeholders, but made it clear that there would be no compromise on integrity and unity of the nation.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti welcomed the resolution adopted at all-party meeting in New Delhi on September 7. She said engagement and reconciliation was the only way forward to end the stalemate and make peace, stability and prosperity a reality in the state and the region.
The Chief Minister said by shying away from the talks, the separatist leadership was in a danger of being squarely blamed for holding up the resolution process when an opportunity was there to address the issue through political and democratic means.
She said now that the resolution adopted at the all-party meeting in New Delhi has reiterated the urgency of engagement and dialogue in Jammu & Kashmir, “we hope a fresh and
productive effort would be made by the country’s political leadership to reach out to all stakeholders in the state to address the issue through inclusive and comprehensive engagement.”
The Chief Minister said the people of Jammu & Kashmir, irrespective of their age, gender, status or political affiliation, had been suffering the disastrous consequences of the turmoil and unrest and had to be retrieved from this blood-spattered quagmire, sooner the better. “The onus lies not only on the government but also on the separatist leadership to give the peace and
resolution process a chance by coming forward with a concrete road map,” she said. She said despite the challenges and impediments, the prevailing painful situation in Kashmir necessitated once again reaching out to all shades of political opinion in the state and initiating substantive political and economic measures to revive and
consolidate the peace and resolution process which had worked so well between 2002 and 2005.
“Violence in any form only brings miseries to the people and is not a means to seek resolution of the problem,” Mehbooba said. She said holding public life to ransom would not yield peace but only aggravate the miseries of the people. “Our children are getting killed and maimed, our social fabric is slipping into disorder, economy is in a shambles, educational sector has suffered immensely, tourism inflow is zero, shopkeepers are not able to do business, transport industry is suffering massive losses, industrial units are shut, development process has come to a halt and people are feeling suffocated. We shall have to ponder over how long we are going to allow this self-destruction to continue?” she asked.