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Mehbooba-Modi meet: Barring PDP, other parties circumspect about outcome

india Updated: Aug 27, 2016 21:21 IST
Toufiq Rashid
Toufiq Rashid
Hindustan Times
Mehbooba Mufti

Prime minister Narendra Modi with chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti at a meeting in New Delhi on Saturday. (PTI Photo)

Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti’s meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi has evoked mixed reactions from political circles in the Valley.

While the ruling PDP hailed Mehbooba’s statement, the main opposition, National Conference, said there was no considerable takeaway.

“We fail to understand what is going on. The statements of the chief minister after the meeting indicate that the state government has no control and no direction. People were expecting some statements about starting a dialogue with people who are alienated, whose anger is on the streets,” said NC general secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar. “We think dialogue is the only solution.”

Dismissing the statements of both PDP and BJP leaders inviting people in the name of insaniyat (humanity), Kashmiriyat (Kashmiri ethos) and jamhooriyat (democracy), Sagar further stated, “Talks don’t happen after ambiguous invitation given on the roads. There is a proper mechanism. Last time, invites were sent to Hurriyat leaders as well as militants by the Vajpayee government. Sincere and honest efforts from both sides are the need of the hour.”

Short of dismissing the meeting in totality, CPM leader Yusuf Tarigami said, “She must also press for initiation of a sustained dialogue.”

Reports from New Delhi suggest that both the Centre and the state have agreed to start a dialogue on Kashmir through informal channels to resolve the unrest which entered its 50th day on Saturday.

The Congress, however, dismissed the hype over the meeting. “They need to come out with a roadmap calling for a swift resolution to the crisis which has entered the 50 day. There has been no initiative on that front yet,” said J&K Congress chief Ghulam Ahmad Mir.

Senior leader and former PDP parliamentarian Mehboob Beg has hailed the CM’s statement wherein she has appealed to the protesters to give her a chance.

“It is only fair that she is given a chance, it is not that she is asking for the moon. We must give her a chance to address our grievances as we have done with leaders in the past. Geelani Sahab must think of Mehbooba as her daughter, who also happens to be the first Kashmiri Muslim woman to lead our state.”

Separatist leaders like moderate and the Valley’s head cleric, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, and hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani were not available for comment as both were arrested following their call to march to Badamibagh Cantonment in Srinagar.

However, a few hours before he was shifted to Chashmashahi sub-jail, Mirwaiz told HT, “There was ambiguity in whatever he said, be it talks with separatists or discarding pellet guns,” said Mirwaiz.

“I think the time has come to call a spade a spade. Kashmir is a political problem. It calls for a political solution and India needs to acknowledge that,” he added.