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BJP dampens Hurriyat talks hopes

Updated June 25, 2019

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“The Joint Resistance Leadership of Hurriyat does not represent the majority of Kashmiris," says BJP. — Reuters/File
“The Joint Resistance Leadership of Hurriyat does not represent the majority of Kashmiris," says BJP. — Reuters/File

NEW DELHI: Putting its foot down against a tenuous proposal for talks between the Indian government and leaders of All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said on Monday the move would be regressive and hurt recent anti-terror measures.

APHC chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was quoted on Saturday as saying that “there will be a positive response” if “meaningful” talks are initiated by New Delhi.

“The Joint Resistance Leadership [invo­l­ving the Hurriyat] should publicly ackno­wledge the indisputable status of Jammu and Kashmir and it being an integral part of India. They should also commit their loyalty to Constitution of India and seek talks only under its ambit,” BJP spokesperson Anil Gupta said in a statement.

The Express quoted him as saying that any talks with the JRL or Hurriyat at this stage without them publicly accepting these “preconditions” will be “counter-productive and a retrograde step”.

The reaction from the saffron party came after Mr Farooq called for a tripartite talk between the Kashmiri leadership, New Delhi and Islamabad for resolution of all issues, including Kashmir. “As the most affected party with daily killings of our young men, we would naturally want a peaceful resolution of the issue,” he had said, regurgitating a formula that India has rejected in the past.

On Saturday, Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malikhad said that the Hurriyat had softened its stand and were ready for talks after he took charge of the state last August.

“The Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) of Hurriyat does not represent the majority of Kashmiris. They are responsible for the senseless killings of Kashmiris by the Kashmiris at the behest of Pakistan. None of the Hurriyat leaders has signalled any change in their stance and continue to promote separatism,” Mr Gupta said.

The JRL speaks on behalf of the “Kashmiri power brokers who claim to be mainstream, but survive on the latent support of the Jammat-e-Islami Kashmir (JEIK), the main ideologue of the separatists and the Hurriyat”, the BJP leader pointed out. “Mere appeals for talks with the Centre is no indicator of any change in the mindset,” he added.

The Express quoted Mr Gupta as spinning a different story on current state of affairs.

“The new generation of radicalised leadership owes allegiance to the Jamiat-i-Ahle Hadith [Ahl-e-Hadees]. They are also the mouthpiece of Pakistan and are dictated by ISI,” Mr Gupta said.

“With the Damocles’ sword in the form of FATF hanging over the head of Pakistan, it has temporarily suspended financing the Hurriyat which is now going through a serious financial crunch,” he added.

Mr Gupta also accused Hurriyat as the “perpetrator of most of the problems in Kashmir”, saying “with the inflow of ‘hawala’ money controlled, they are now strapped of cash and thus asking for talks”.

Published in Dawn, June 25th, 2019