Separatists ready for dialogue with Delhi, but with rider

Syed Ali Geelani. AP/PTI

Days after Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the Centre was ready to hold a dialogue with the Hurriyat Conference if they come forward for talks, the separatists on Tuesday accepted the offer but with a rider.

After a meeting in Srinagar, the top three separatist leaders, Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik, said that they were ready to join the dialogue, but demanded that New Delhi should end ambiguity first.

"The statements emanating regarding talks in the course of last few days from different people at the helm of affairs in New Delhi are unclear and ambiguous. While Mr Rajnath says there should be dialogue with Kashmiris and Pakistan, Ms (Sushma) Swaraj puts a rider and says no talks with Pakistan unless 'terror is stopped'," they said in a statement.

"Then (BJP president) Mr Amit Shah gives a spin to the ceasefire saying that it is not for militants but for the people, while the state's director general police had issued a statement that it is for militants to come back home. All this ambiguity leaves little room to consider the talk," the trio said.

However, while showing an inclination to join the dialogue process, the separatist leaders said, "We do not want to score points by highlighting the discrepancies and conflicts in their statements but want to understand what the Government of India is conveying through them to respond accordingly."

"Since the people of Jammu and Kashmir are at the receiving end of the lingering 70-year-old conflict, being the worst affected, we are most keen to find an end to it. And we have always advocated that, being a political and human issue, it needs to be addressed likewise. And for a political redressal of the conflict, dialogue among stakeholders is the best process and option available," they said.

While advocating the inclusion of Pakistan in the process, they said that as J&K is a divided territory and half of it is under the control of Pakistan, the 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. Absence of any one stakeholder in the process will not yield any solution. It is also important to have transparency in such a process and an assurance from all sides that promises and pledges made will be honoured," they said.

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Separatists ready for dialogue with Delhi, but with rider

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