Visit to separatists' homes not collective decision: BJP


“Visit to the residences of separatists by some delegates was not a collective decision of the delegation,” senior BJP leader Sushma told media persons here.

Late afternoon on Monday, CPM leader Yechury led a delegation to Hurriyat hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s residence and Lok Janshakthi Party Chief Ram Vilas Paswan led a group to JKLF leader Mohammed Yasin Malik’s house. Another similar group went to meet Mirwaiz Umar Farooq of All Party Hurriyat Conference.

Geelani, Malik and Mirwaiz had rejected the Centre’s invitation to meet the all-party team visiting Kashmir since Monday for a first-hand feel of the crisis here that has claimed over 69 civilian lives since June.

On Tuesday, too, Yechury, Paswan and others met Geelani at the Hurriyat hawk’s residence. The meeting of the national leaders with the separatists was telecast live by television channels and generated lot of excitement in the political circles of the state.

Yechury and Paswan defended their visit, saying they met the separatists as part of the all-party delegation engagements and that they had the mandate of the Centre, even of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, to do so.

But Swaraj denied that the meeting was discussed by the all-party delegation. “Our delegation had no mandate to meet the separatists. Those delegates who went, did it on their own. When they expressed their desire to meet the separatists, the delegation leader only said ‘you can go’,” she said.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, however, felt the meeting of the delegates and the separatists was a good beginning to a process to the end the crisis. “Kashmir is not only about the National Conference, PDP, Congress and BJP but also of the separatists. Meeting them was a government plan,” he said.

Since Monday, the all-party delegation has been holding meetings to study the ground situation, a procedure which Swaraj described as “successful.”

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