Kashmir separatists say ready to join peace talks if ‘Indian leadership speaks in one voice’

Kashmir separatists say ready to join peace talks if ‘Indian leadership speaks in one voice’

On Saturday, Union home minister Rajnath Singh had said that Centre was ready to hold Kashmir peace talks with Hurriyat if its leadership comes forward.

May 29, 2018 23:26 IST

Mir Ehsan

“Let the Indian government give clarity on what it wants to talk about and speak in one voice. We are ready to join the process,” the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), a conglomerate of separatist groups in Kashmir, said in a statement.

Syed Ali Geelani, leader of the hardline faction in Hurriyat, hosted a meeting at his Hyderpora residence on Tuesday. Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Yasin Malik were also present in the meeting.

The JRL said that it is important to have transparency in such a process and an assurance from all sides that promises and pledges will be honoured.

On Saturday, union home minister Rajnath Singh had said that the Centre was ready to hold talks with the Hurriyat if its leadership comes forward. This is the first time in the recent past that the separatist leadership has not set any precondition for the start of any dialogue with the Centre.

“The statements regarding talks in the last few days from different people at the helm of affairs in New Delhi are unclear and ambiguous,’’ the leadership said, adding that while the home minister said there should be dialogue with both Kashmir and Pakistan, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj put a rider saying no talks can be held with Pakistan unless terror stops.

The leadership further said that BJP president Amit Shah said the ceasefire is for the people and not militants, while J&K Director General of Police issued a statement that it’s for the militants to come back home. “The ambiguity leaves little room to consider the talk about talks seriously,” the JRL statement said.

Earlier this month, the Centre had asked security forces to halt counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir during the Islamic holy month of Ramzan, accepting a demand made by chief minister Mehbooba Mufti.

The JRL leadership also said that for a political redressal of the conflict, dialogue among stakeholders is the best option. “As Jammu and Kashmir is a divided territory and half of it is in Pakistan, this dispute has three stakeholders — India, Pakistan and the people of Kashmir. Meaningful talks based on a clear agenda underlined by sincerity among all the three stakeholders is an assured and peaceful way to resolve the conflict,’’ it said.