New Delhi: The Centre informed the Supreme Court on Friday that it cannot hold talks with Kashmiri separatists or with Pakistan in the current situation in the Valley where tension between civilians and security forces has spiked after a fresh wave of fatal clashes.
Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi, the government’s top law officer, rejected the J&K High Court Bar Association’s plea for a unilateral ceasefire and resumption of talks with separatist leaders such as Syed Shah Geelani.
Mr Rohatgi told the bench that there can be no talks with Pakistan or the separatists, and even the court cannot direct the government for holding talks with them.
The A-G said, “The Counsel is saying that we should hold talks with Syed Geelani and other leaders. What is going on? What kind of dialogue with these separatist leaders is he talking about? I can’t have a dialogue. If he has to talk, he has to talk under the rules (Constitution),” he said.
The court immediately asked the A-G, “Did we say we will direct you? Did we agree? It was a suggestion within certain parameters.” The A-G made his submissions before a three-judge bench when Chief Justice J.S. Khehar suggested suspension of the use of pellet guns in the Valley, provided there was a reciprocal assurance that there would be no violence and stone throwing from the other side.
The bench — also comprising justices D.Y. Chandrachud and Sanjay Kishan Kaul — was hearing a petition from the bar association against pellet guns’ use that “results in innocents being killed and several persons losing eyesight.”
The Attorney-General also drew the court’s attention to the Association’s reply describing Kashmir’s accession to India as a “controversial instrument of accession.
Security forces blamed for violence
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi asked the court “How can they (bar) say it is a controversial instrument of accession and say the two countries India and Pakistan are killing people in Kashmir? Is he saying we should have dialogue with Pakistan?.”
Earlier Adv. Abdul Quayum appearing for the Bar Association, blamed the security forces for indulging in violence and sought a direction from the court that Centre should be asked to hold “unilateral, uninterrupted, unconditional talks with all stakeholders in the State.”
However, the CJI asked Quayum, “We can direct them (Centre) to suspend the use of pellet guns for two weeks, but you must assure that violence and stone-pelting will stop.” But the advocate refused to give any assurance saying he was only representing the Bar....