Joint separatist leadership of Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik Tuesday expressed their willingness to join a dialogue on Kashmir if Pakistan was involved in the process. In a joint statement, the separatist leadership said: “…this dispute has three stakeholders — India, Pakistan and people of this land (J&K). The meaningful talks, based on a clear agenda, (and) underlined by sincerity among all the three stakeholders, is an assured and peaceful way to resolve the conflict of Kashmir.” “Absence of any one stake holder in the process will not yield any solution.”
This comes just days after Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the government was ready to hold dialogue with the Hurriyat Conference if the separatists come forward for talks.
It is also a departure from the stand so far maintained by the separatists — the separatist amalgam have not demanded declaration of Kashmir as “disputed” and withdrawal of troops, as a pre-condition for talks.
The separatists have, however, called the Centre’s offer for talks as “unclear and ambiguous”. “Let the Government of India give clarity on what it wants to talk about and speak in one language, we are ready to join the process,” the joint statement said.
Terming the statements from New Delhi “contradictory”, it said: “A few days back Rajnath Singh said that they are ready to talks to Pakistan and Hurriyat, to which (External Affairs Minister) Suhsma Swaraj added riders and caveats. Then Amit Shah put out his clarifications… All this ambiguity leaves little room to consider the talk seriously.”
Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent speech in the Valley, the separatists said: “…Modi said in Srinagar that the panacea to the Kashmir problem… is ‘development’ and that ‘peace is a prerequisite for that to happen’, thus putting the onus of bringing peace on people…The question is what is this offer that Rajnath Singh is referring to?”