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Kashmir unrest: Govt signals talk with separatists, all-party delegation may meet Hurriyat leaders next month

As all efforts of the Centre and Jammu and Kashmir government to bring normalcy in the Valley so far have gone to vain, the government is mulling bringing separatists back to the talking table.
India TV Politics Desk New Delhi August 28, 2016 7:23 IST
India TV Politics Desk

As all efforts of the Centre and Jammu and Kashmir government to bring normalcy in the Valley so far have gone to vain, the government is mulling bringing separatists back to the talking table, at least unofficially. 

The Centre and the state government reached an understanding that no member of the all-party delegation, scheduled to visit Srinagar early next month, will be discouraged from engaging with the separatist leaders, Hindustan Times reported, citing sources, after a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday

Kashmir has been reeling under curfew for 50 days after Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed in an encounter on July 8. Clashes between security forces and protesters have claimed 70 lives so far. 

Although separatist leaders are not leading the protests which seem to be impromptu, many believe that talks with them are necessary to restore normality in Kashmir. So far, BJP-led Centre has refused to engage with separatists in any manner possible. 

Mehbooba Mufti, in the meeting with Modi, presented a "three-pronged action plan" that included a dialogue with all stakeholders to bring lasting peace in the Valley.

A press release by the state government did not spell any details but sources in the know said the plan includes facilitating visit of an All Party delegation to the Valley later next week, a possible change in Governor and appointing an interlocutor to hold talks with all the stakeholders in the state. 

She said that all the parties, cutting across the divide, including the Hurriyat leaders shall have to come forward and help in saving innocent lives as also engage in a meaningful dialogue process for the peaceful resolution of the problems. 

Appealing to the protesters to help her resolve the crisis, she said, "please give me one chance to address your concerns and aspirations." 

Later, when asked by reporters about talks with Hurriyat, she said a dialogue should be held with all those who want talks. But "those who are instigating the people for carrying out attacks on camps and police stations are not interested in talks," she said. 

She also appealed to the separatist leaders to come and help her government in breaking "this cycle of violence" in the state. 

Appealing to the protesters to help her resolve the crisis, she said, "please give me one chance to address your concerns and aspirations." 

Mehbooba’s party PDP also appealed to hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani to give a chance to her to address the grievances of the people of the state.

In a passionate appeal, the PDP said the separatist leader "must think of Mehbooba as his daughter, who also happens to be the first Kashmiri Muslim woman to lead our state". 

"She is not the conventional politician that we deal with most of the times. In case, she does not bring about a change, she will be the first to own up and make way. 

"I appeal to Geelani Sahab to give her a chance, she understands the pain and pulse of the people as she has risen from the grass roots," PDP chief spokesman and former Lok Sabha member Mehboob Beg said in a statement.