Kashmir: Separatists say ready for talks ‘if Centre gives clarity on agenda’

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Jammu, May 29: Responding to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s offer of talks with separatist leaders in Kashmir, the top Hurriyat leadership on Tuesday announced its intention to join the dialogue process if the Centre gave clarity on its “agenda”.
Singh had on Saturday said the government was ready to hold dialogue with the Hurriyat Conference leadership if the separatists came forward for talks.
Top Hurriyat leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik held a detailed meeting at the Hyderpora residence of Geelani and deliberated on the prevailing political situation in Jammu and Kashmir. Taking stock of the situation, they observed that the statements emanating regarding “talks in the course of last few days from different people at the helm of affairs in New Delhi were “unclear and ambiguous”.
A statement issued after the meeting pointed out that the statements of top leadership of the country regarding the dialogue process were contradictory and had created confusion among the people.
The separatist leaders said meaningful talks based on a clear agenda underlined with sincerity among all three stakeholders — India, Pakistan and Kashmiris — was an assured and peaceful way to resolve the conflict of Kashmir in all its forms and dimensions. Any effort made by the Government of India in this direction would find takers in Kashmir and Pakistan, they said. “Let the Centre give clarity on what it wants to talk about and speak in one language, we are ready to join the process,” the statement said.
It pointed out; “the stakes for people of Kashmir are very high, we have invested heavily in our struggle for our Right to Self-Determination and cannot afford to be part of an ambiguous effort that has no clarity and direction. Being a political and human issue it needs to be addressed likewise, not militarily as Government of India has been doing.” The leaders said dialogue among stakeholders was the best process and option available for a political redressal of the conflict.
“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. Meaningful talks based on a clear agenda underlined by sincerity among all the three stakeholders would be an assured and peaceful way to resolve the conflict of Kashmir in all its forms and dimensions. Absence of any one stake holder in the process will not yield to any solution,” said the statement.
It added; “It is also important to have transparency in such a process and an assurance from all sides that promises and pledges made will be honoured. Talks that are so held keeping in view the concerns and needs of stakeholders especially the most afflicted party, to the satisfaction of all will surely be successful and result oriented.”
The separatist leaders said there was ambiguity in the statements of Prime Minister Narendera Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and BJP president Amit Shah regarding the ceasefire and dialogue. “Modi has put the onus of bringing peace on the people of Kashmir,” said the statement.
The separatist leadership said they did not want to score points by highlighting the discrepancies and conflicts in their statements but wanted to understand what the Government of India was conveying to them before they could respond.
They said since the people of J&K were at the receiving end of the lingering “70-year-old conflict”, they were “most keen to find an end to it”. (Courtesy: TS)