While mainstream political parties have cautiously welcomed Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s offer of dialogue to the Hurriyat, three top Kashmiri separatist leaders — Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik on Tuesday said the 70-year-old Kashmir conflict needed to be addressed through a political and humanitarian angle and not militarily, as is being carried out by the Centre.
In a statement issued in Srinagar, the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) also asserted that New Delhi could not bypass the people of Kashmir in their talks with Pakistan and must consider them as the “third stakeholder”. The trio agreed to join the conflict-resolution process if the Centre cleared the ambiguity on the talks offer.
“Kashmir being a political and human issue it needs to be addressed likewise, not militarily as the government has been doing. Moreover, as J&K is a divided territory and half of it is in Pakistan, this dispute has three stakeholders — India, Pakistan and people of this land. Absence of any one stake holder will not yield to any solution,” the statement said.
The three separatist leaders, however, asked New Delhi to clearly spell out its stand on its offer of dialogue with Pakistan since three different statements by three different leaders had added to the ambiguity. “The statements emanating regarding talks in the course of last few days from different people at the helm of affairs in New Delhi are unclear and ambiguous. Let the government give clarity on what it wants to talk about and speak in one language we are ready to join the process,” the separatist outfit said.
In the past ten days, a gamut of politicians and Union ministers have given their opinion on ways to resolve the Kashmir conflict while unilaterally blaming Pakistan for being the troublemaker in the state. Home Minister Rajnath Singh said Pakistan should also “take some initiative” even as he asserted “Kashmir and Kashmiris were ours and will remain ours”.
While BJP chief Amit Shah said the ceasefire in J&K during Ramzan was meant solely for Kashmiri citizens and not the terrorists, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Monday said terror and talks could never go together, ruling out any negotiations with Pakistan.
“What is this talks about to which Singh is referring? What is the agenda of these talks? Is it about Modi’s suggestion of development?,” the three separatist leaders asked, adding their motive was not to score brownie points by highlighting the discrepancies in the statements.
Training their guns on Modi for his remarks that the panacea to the Kashmir problem was development and peace was a prerequisite to achieving it, the separatists lashed out at the PM for choosing to ignore the historical background of the Kashmir problem. “The PM deliberately chose to ignore the historical background of the Kashmir problem, the reason for presence of lakhs of his troops and the highly volatile situation on ground. It was like Modi was playing a cruel joke on the people,” the statement said.