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Yashwant Sinha-led delegation in Kashmir Valley, reaches out to Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq

“Our aim was to hold talks and we have succeeded in our aim,” Sinha said after meeting Geelani.

Kashmir, Kashmir unrest, Kashmir violence, Hurriyat conference, Hurriyat conference leaders, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Yashwant Sinha, BJP, Kashmir curfew, Kashmir status, india news The five-member delegation with Syed Ali Shah Geelani in Srinagar on Tuesday. (Source: Express photo by Shuaib Masoodi)

A five-member team led by BJP leader and former Union minister Yashwant Sinha met Hurriyat leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Tuesday.

“Our aim was to hold talks and we have succeeded in our aim,” Sinha said after meeting Geelani. “The talks happened in a good atmosphere.” The meeting with separatists was significant in view of the logjam amid the shutdown and protests in the Valley since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani in July. In September, the Hurriyat leaders had refused to meet the all-party parliamentary delegation. Geelani had, in fact, refused to open his door when members of the delegation came knocking.

WATCH VIDEO: Except One, Hurriyat Chairman Geelani Has Bandh Calendar For Every School

 

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Sinha clarified that his team — including former Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah, retired Air Vice-Marshal Kapil Kak, journalist Bharat Bhushan and president of the Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation Sushobha Barve — had come in their individual capacities. “We are not a delegation. We are a few people who I must call people of goodwill. We have come here on humanitarian grounds to share the pain of the people,” he said.

After arriving in Srinagar Tuesday morning, the team drove to Geelani’s Hyderpora residence. The closed-door meeting lasted over an hour, and reportedly discussed the situation in the Valley after Wani’s death.

“The conversation took place in a cordial atmosphere,” a Hurriyat spokesman said. “Geelani sahib reminded them (team) of the historical perspective of the Kashmir issue. He told them that the onus of peace lies with those holding power, military might and other resources.”

Geelani reportedly demanded that separatist leaders be freed and allowed to meet each other so that they can put forward a “common and collective point of view”.

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Later in the day, the team had a closed-door meeting with Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. Mirwaiz was shifted from Cheshma Shahi subjail to his residence for the meeting.

“We discussed many important issues, the larger issues can take time,” Kak said. “There should be some progress in dialogue between New Delhi and Srinagar. Both sides have to come together.”

After the meeting, Mirwaiz addressed a press conference, saying Kashmiris had “already won a moral victory”. “Today the fifth generation of Kashmir has stood up for its rights. We have a clear stand, that there are two ways out — either implement the international resolution on Kashmir or that India, Pakistan and people of Kashmir sit together for decisive talks,” he said.

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The team met Hurriyat leaders Abdul Gani Bhat and Shabir Ahmad Shah in the evening.

Over the next two days the team will meet Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, Governor N N Vohra and representatives of traders.

First published on: 26-10-2016 at 12:29:19 am
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