Centre to SC: can't talk to separatists

Rules out withdrawal of forces from J&K

Centre to SC: can't talk to separatists

The government on Friday told the Supreme Court that it would not hold any dialogue with those seeking to break away from India.

However, it said it was willing to talk to ‘legally recognised stakeholders’ in Jammu and Kashmir.
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi submitted before a bench, headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar, that the government could not consider withdrawing its forces from the border state as it would endanger national security.

“The government would come to the negotiating table only if legally recognised stakeholders participate in the dialogue, and not with separatist elements who rake up the issue of accession or azadi (freedom) in Kashmir,” he said.

He was responding to a plea by the Jammu and Kashmir Bar Association to withdraw the use of pellet guns in the Valley.

When the counsel representing the association complained the government was not holding any talks with detained Hurriyat leaders, Rohatgi took objection.

“The case of the bar here is different, but they (lawyers for the association) talk about Geelani and the separatists. What is going on? Ten times they say release them,” he said, emphasising that the government would “absolutely” not hold talks with separatists.

The government’s assertion comes four days after Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti met Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who told her “talks cannot happen amid stone-pelting and firing of bullets”.

“Why can’t others also come and meet the chief minister and the prime minister?” Rohatgi said, referring to the meeting.

The bench told the top law officer it would stop hearing the matter if the Centre felt the judiciary had no role to play. “If you feel we have no jurisdiction, we will close the file,” it said.

“Let them make a statement, we will respond to it. Let them clarify who they want to meet,” Rohatgi said.

The court then asked the bar association to come back on May 9 with a roadmap to end the crisis.
The bench, also comprising Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, also said it could not order withdrawal of pellet guns while violence and stone-throwing were on.
DH News Service

Bring students back, appeals SC
The court asked the Jammu and Kashmir Bar Association, petitioners in the case, to take at least “one positive step” to defuse the crisis. Students must return to their colleges as education can empower them, it said.  “This is (going to create) history. You can play a role and you will be remembered for times to come,” it advised.

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