Srinagar: The Centre is likely to take a call on the issue of holding talks with separatist groups including Hurriyat Conference after Union Home Minister, Amit Shah, personally gauges the political landscape and also reviews the prevailing law and order and security situation in Jammu and Kashmir during his two day visit beginning on Wednesday.
The Home Minister was scheduled to reach here on a daylong trip on June 30 but his visit has been advanced due to his “busy schedule connected with the Union Budget”, the official sources here said. They added that Mr. Shah will chair a high level security meeting in Srinagar and also address ruling BJP workers and Panchayat members separately during this visit.
During his maiden visit of the restive State as home minister, Mr. Shah is also likely to hold a one-on-one meeting with Governor, Satya Pal Malik, and meet separately some senior mainstream political leaders including those from the BJP to obtain their views towards evaluating the prevailing security situation and political contours of the State. He will also pay obeisance at the Amarnath shrine, the sources said.
Kashmir’s chief Muslim cleric and senior separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq had last week said that the Centre should take initiative to start the stalled dialogue process in the State and that “all such sincere efforts would get the desired response’. He had reiterated that the Modi 2:0 dispensation will seize the historic decisive mandate given to it by the people for taking bold decisions to resolve Kashmir and all other outstanding issues with Pakistan to bring about lasting peace in South Asia.”
He had further said, “With such massive mandate, it is responsibility of the Central government to take forward the political process in the State and initiate all possible measures to put an end to the cycle of violence in the State”.
While responding to this, J&K Governor Satya Pal Malik had said that he welcomes the ‘change of heart’ among the separatist leaders over the option of resolving the issues confronting the State through talks. “The Hurriyat (Conference) leaders who once shut their doors to Ram Vilas Paswan are now saying they are ready for talks,” he had said while speaking at a function in Srinagar at the weekend.
Though the Centre has not indicated anything on the issue-whether it is willing to start dialogue with the separatists or not, BJP’s national vice president and J&K affairs in-charge Avinash Rai Khanna said here on Monday that his party is ready to carry forward the dialogue legacy of the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee with the Hurriyat leaders. But he hastened to add that there would be no compromise on the country’s constitution. He said, “We are for dialogue and the fact is that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is creating an atmosphere for peace and reconciliation. We are open to talks with Hurriyat leaders but within the ambit of the Constitution.” He added, “We are ready to carry forward the dialogue legacy of Vajpayeeji but there can be no compromise on the country’s constitution. Hurriyat is welcome to talk to us or even the Prime Minister.”
While speaking to this newspaper on Tuesday, the Mirwaiz said, “We’ve been, from day one, saying that Kashmir is a political issue which ought to be resolved politically through dialogue after taking all the stakeholders on board. That’s why when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was returned to power with huge mandate in recently held elections we said that he and his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan should take the process of dialogue forward and after taking the people of Kashmir into confidence try to address the issue. This is not something new. Our principled stand has been that the issue of Kashmir can be resolved through dialogue.'
Replying a question, he said that neither the Centre nor the Governor’s administration or anyone on their behalf has established contact with him on the issue of holding dialogue, so far....