Ahead of the all-party delegation meet on Wednesday, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had expressed concern over the Centre’s reported move to downgrade the security of separatist leaders.
The CM called up JD(U) MP Sharad Yadav, a member of the all-party delegation that visited Jammu and Kashmir on September 4-5, to discuss how to end the unrest in the Valley. It was learnt that she expressed concern that downgrading the security of separatist leaders could lead to a difficult situation.
It was not known whether Mehbooba dialled other members of the all-party delegation.
India believes that forces supported by Pakistan were behind the killing of separatist leaders who were known to be moderate. Separatist leaders Mirwaiz Moulvi Mohammad Farooq and Abdul Gani Lone were killed by unidentified gunmen in 1990 and 2002, respectively.
While Moulvi Mohammad Farooq’s son Mirwaiz Umar Farooq is now considered a moderate separatist leader and is heading a faction of the Hurriyat, Lone’s son Sajjad is a Cabinet minister in the PDP-BJP government.
During Wednesday’s all-party delegation meeting, chaired by the Home Minister, a number of Opposition members cornered the government over its reported move to turn the heat on separatists. The government assured the delegation members that it was “neither doing anything nor contemplating” any action without political consensus.
This took many by surprise, as government sources had indicated a day earlier that the Centre would harden its stand against separatists and review their security and perks.
In fact, this was the first issue to be raised at the meeting. Mallikarjun Kharge, Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha, said the “government has already limited the scope of discussions” by indicating it would place restrictions on separatist leaders. At this, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that reports on the government’s plans had been “misrepresented”.
When contacted, Yadav confirmed that Mehbooba had spoken to him about the issue, and that he later had a word with the Home Minister on the subject.
An hour after the meeting started, Mos for PMO Jitendra Singh accompanied by CPM General Secretary Sitaram Yechury came out to clarify that nobody in the delegation had said the state government had failed to control the situation.
Sources said that while most of the delegation members were not inclined to get into a blame game, the presentation given by a joint secretary of the Home Ministry on the talking points culled from 40 memorandums received by the delegation had a mention of it.