Hurriyat Makes A Move
OBSERVER NEWS SERVICE •
May 30, 2018 • 183
The engagement with the Hurriyat has to be the primary purpose of any political outreach to Kashmir as only they question the status quo on Kashmir. Not doing so will be the undoing of the entire exercise.
Hurriyat has shown willingness to hold talks with the centre if the latter cleared ambiguity in its call for such an engagement. True, a chorus of statements about a conditional dialogue with Pakistan and Kashmiri separatists has emanated from New Delhi in recent past. First, Rajnath Singh said the government was open to talks to both Hurriyat and Pakistan provided they come forward for it. This was followed by the statements on the similar lines from the Vice President Venkiah Naidu and the foreign minister Sushma Swaraj. They too expressed readiness to talk but reiterated the demand for Pakistan to end terrorism first. Hurriyat’s response has been more nuanced this time. During their Tuesday meeting at Hyderpora, the Joint Resistance Leadership comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, and Yasin Malik said that they would reciprocate if the centre sought a purposeful dialogue.
Despite the ambiguity of the statements, Kashmir is suddenly rife with anticipation of talks. But there is no clarity on what is on the mind of the leaders in New Delhi. The new dialogue offer is more of a general nature than specifically addressed to the separatists as it should have been. The simultaneous statements on dialogue from New Delhi thus don’t really constitute an offer of dialogue. None of the leaders including Rajnath Singh make a direct dialogue offer to Hurriyat. On the contrary, they throw the ball in separatist court, offering themselves for talks should the separatists wish to engage with them.
But for the dialogue to come through, the vague statements will hardly help. Such indirect signals will have little resonance with the separatists who are loath to be seen as one of the sundry stakeholders in Kashmir and consider themselves to be the sole representatives of the political aspirations of the people. Nor would a general and Pro-forma offer of dialogue be sufficient for them to respond positively.
The engagement with the Hurriyat has to be the primary purpose of any political outreach to Kashmir as only they question the status quo on Kashmir. Not doing so will be the undoing of the entire exercise. For, it is in drawing the separatists into a credible and sustainable dialogue that the resolution of the current crisis lies – of course, to be followed up by talks with Islamabad for a permanent solution.