Defiant Geelani talks 'freedom'

Kashmiris future secure with India: PC

Defiant Geelani  talks 'freedom'

Three separatist leaders—Hurriyat Conference moderate faction chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, JKLF chief Mohammad Yasin Malik and Geelani—were among some who met the 39-member all-party delegation that arrived here to test the waters and initiate some steps for a dialogue process to begin.

Led by Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, the delegation reached Srinagar amid tight curfew across the Valley where neither Kashmiri separatists nor politicians or the state government of chief minister Omar Abdullah have been able to agree on a road map to restore normalcy.

On his part, Chidambaram assured the people of the state that their honour, dignity and future were secure as part of India. The all-party delegation’s two-day visit got off to an unpleasant start when People’s Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti did not turn up to meet the visiting team of leaders who, among others, included Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Sitaram Yechury, Ram Vilas Paswan and Farooq Abdullah.

After Geelani refused to meet the delegation, some non-Congress and non-BJP leaders, including Yechury, met the separatist leader at his residence where he told the CPM Rajya Sabha MP that peace could be restored in the Valley if New Delhi not by introducing economic packages but by Kashmir’s independence.

The 80-year-old separatist leader told Yechury that he would not settle for anything less than the Centre meeting five demands -- declaring Kashmir as a disputed issue, demilitarisation, end to human rights violations and killings, revocation of laws that give the Army special powers, and the release of Kashmiri prisoners like Afzal Guru, who has been awarded  death penalty for the attack on Parliament.

Pointing out that he assured Geelani that the delegation members would communicate his demands to the Centre and urge it to consider them, Yechury said he also told the Hurriyat leader to “help restore peace, stop the killings of innocent Kashmiris and to join the dialogue process”.

Geelani is understood to have stuck to his pro-independence stand, claiming that talks in the past have not achieved any objective and they failed because of the Indian government’s insincerity and its refusal to adopt a realistic approach.

In Geelani’s words, the “realistic approach” was India accepting Kashmir as a dispute and recognising the Kashmiris’ right to self-determination.

Even the moderate Mirwaiz echoed Geelani’s statement, insisting that a solution to Kashmir was not possible within the framework of the Indian Constitution and asked the Centre to initiate tripartite talks by involving Pakistan.

Senior CPI MP Gurudas Dasgupta told the Mirwaiz that separatists should drop the demand for ‘azadi’ and discussions can be held on any other issue. During a meeting with a group of leaders led by Paswan, Yasin Malik demanded formation of core groups in India and Pakistan, who would talks with separatist leaders.
DH News Service

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