Modi govt overreacted to Pakistan envoy’s meeting with separatists?

This is not for the first time that separatists have met the Pakistan High Commissioners or political heads before the talks.

Written by Bashaarat Masood | Srinagar | Published:August 19, 2014 10:32 am
Separatist leader Shabir Shah with Pak High Commissioner Abdul Basit in Delhi, Monday. Separatist leader Shabir Shah with Pak High Commissioner Abdul Basit in Delhi, Monday.

When BJP came to power, many separatists especially the moderates hoped that the party will carry forward the initiatives started by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. There were a few feelers too. In Srinagar, the Union minister for minority affairs Najama Heptullah said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is following in the footsteps of Vajpayee.

“He (Modi) is treading the path shown by Vajpayee,” Heptullah said. “No other prime minister in the world has traveled in a bus to other country with a message of friendship. Vajpayee went to Pakistan and offered a hand of friendship. I am sure, had Vajpayee won again in 2004 elections, the situation in Kashmir would have been different”.

But the optimism lasted only for a day. On Monday, the Centre called off Foreign Secretary-level talks with Pakistan terming the Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit’s invite to Kashmiri separatists ahead of the talks as a “provocation”.

This is not for the first time that separatists have met the Pakistan High Commissioners or political heads before the talks. It is a 20-year-old practice started in 1994 by the then visiting Pakistan president Farooq Leghari – and since, these meeting have been a regular feature both during the NDA and UPA governments.

When Vajpayee invited the then Pakistan president and Kargil architect Pervez Musharraf for talks in Agra, before meeting Vajpayee he met and consulted with the separatists in New Delhi. Vajpayee didn’t see it as a provocation.

By canceling the talks, the Centre has overreacted to the outcry raised by the opposition Congress – which allowed the Hurriyat leaders to visit Pakistan for consultation with Islamabad before starting a dialogue process with New Delhi in 2005. The separatists see the Congress reaction to the Pakistan High Commissioner’s invite to separatists as double standards and say that in past Congress “facilitated” such meetings.

“These are the double standards,” pro-independence leader Yasin Malik told The Indian Express. “When they (Congress) are in power, they facilitate such meetings and when they are in opposition, they oppose it”.

The calling-off of talks with Pakistan has only given credence to the view of hard-line separatists that New Delhi is not sincere to resolve Kashmir issue through dialogue and has once again discredited the moderates who had shown optimism once BJP came to power.

“It has vindicated our stand that India is not sincere in resolving the Kashmir issue peacefully,” Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Geelani said. “There is nothing new in it (meeting with Pak high commissioner). It only shows that the new dispensation in New Delhi is not politically mature”.

The decision to cancel talks has provided ammunition to the people who have been opposing any kind of talks with New Delhi. In fact, the separatists have already been saying that by choking the channels of dialogue, New Delhi is pushing youth towards violence.

“They (Centre) have decided to choke all kinds of stage for Kashmiri movement,” Malik said. “By this, they are pushing the new generation to pick up the gun”.

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  1. B
    B.D.SINGH
    Aug 19, 2014 at 6:56 am
    Modi Govt. has acted in a very appropriate manner. When Modi said earlier that talks are not heard in gun shots, he meant it. But Pak was thinking it is business as usual. It is very small step to remind Pak that he means business and hanky panky drama and Pak should also understand that Modi means what he says..
    Reply
  2. D
    DK Sharma
    Aug 21, 2014 at 3:31 am
    Modi govt has not overreacted but sent a strong message to stan that they have no business to talk to fringe groups before secretary level talks with India.
    Reply
  3. F
    fayez
    Aug 19, 2014 at 6:22 pm
    What separatist think that by creating a new structure they will do some measure of greatness. It is a fools dream to expect that things will be great, infact they will worst. Kashmiris should think in constructive terms and join the main. India is a land line many religions and cultures.
    Reply
  4. J
    joseph
    Aug 21, 2014 at 2:35 am
    What is a surprise to me is why no one in India is supporting there own govt. (i mean news agencies). India should be worried about this meeting before the elections in JnK and the sudden unprovoked increase in ceasefire violations.I am surprised nobody cares...and instead blaming indian government. India first informed stan envoy what will happen if this meet happens but he ignored it and instead supported a separatist group. This group is a self proclaimed group, they are not chosen by people of JnK.Its shocking the way indian news agencies work.... really shocking. Instead of backing there own PM they are criticizing him (remember, he is trying something new, its not like he has declared war...)
    Reply
  5. V
    VicM
    Aug 23, 2014 at 4:32 am
    hurriyat or not…most kashmiri muslims genocidal s.
    Reply
  6. P
    Puneet
    Aug 21, 2014 at 8:55 pm
    name of the writer of this artiicle suggests is a probably a Hurriyat guy?
    Reply
  7. T
    trishanku
    Aug 21, 2014 at 4:38 am
    How long will we continue to live in self deception? Either hurriyat represents the people or not -- our free press wants it both ways. If treason charges can be framed against a sitting MP of Telangana for doubting the integration of her state with India , why not against Hurriyat. The experience of last 25 years shows that our double speak has only resulted in Kargill, Mumbai and periodic killing of soldiers and civilians. It is high time our government shows some clarity and consistency in its Kashmir policy . Please engage the elected representatives of people in the talks to sort out the disaffection among youth.
    Reply
  8. V
    V B
    Aug 19, 2014 at 6:27 am
    It is good to have a national paper speaking in the voice of stan. It shows the strength of press freedom in our democracy. History has seen 1oo-years war. There was no harm if peace talks could have gone on for a thousand years. Atalji went to stan in a bus in search of peace and came back with Kargil! Everybody must repeat that gesture of goodwill. However, it helps if one can quickly get a measure of the enemy's intent and design. Peace is not what stan establishment seeks with India.
    Reply
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