The Bharatiya Janata Party’s ally Shiv Sena on Wednesday attacked the Centre on its ‘constantly changing’ policies regarding the Hurriyat, saying the U-turn made by the government to allow the separatists to hold talks with Pakistan was nothing short of an incredible act.
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut told ANI that Kashmir is an emotional and sensitive matter, adding there are divisive forces in the state like the Hurriyat, who are trying to align the state with Pakistan or make it independent.
“We have always maintained that there should be no talks with such people because the Hurriyat wants Pakistan to be involved in talks regarding Kashmir. Even the BJP agreed with us, now suddenly allowing Hurriyat to talk with Pakistan is incredible. Even Congress did not do this,” Raut said.
He added that if the Congress party had taken this stand then the Shiv Sena would have branded the grand old party as ‘agents’ who want to sell Kashmir to Pakistan but their hands were now tied since it was the BJP.
“They (government) need to think really carefully when they make decisions regarding Kashmir. It will not fare well for the nation if the Centre makes a spectacle of love with those people, who have already shaken hands with Pakistan,” Raut said.
Sena’s reaction comes after the Centre gave its nod on Tuesday to the Hurriyat leaders for talks with Pakistan and its representatives, two years after imposing a policy against separatist leaders meeting officials from the neighbouring country.
An editorial in the Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamana also compared the Narendra Modi government to a chameleon which has changed its colours.
Sena, which shares an uneasy alliance with the BJP in Maharashtra, also said U-turn by the Centre on Hurriyat is like ‘calling the Ram temple in Ayodhya as Babri mosque’
“Hurriyat Conference is now going to discuss Kashmir with Pakistan and the Central government has given them this concession. Tomorrow, talks on Kashmir will be held with Masood Azhar, Dawood Ibrahim and (Zakiur Rahman) Lakhvi,” the Sena said in an editorial in its mouthpiece ‘Saamana’.
“When colours are changed faster than a chameleon, people wonder how they (Modi government) manage this ... Had Congress made such an about turn on Hurriyat and Kashmir issues, the BJP and the Sangh Parivar would have termed them as agents of Pakistan,” the editorial said.
“Then they (Congress) would have been told that they were selling the country and there would have been a demand that such traitors should be ousted from power. They would have stalled Parliament in the name of ‘national security’,” it said.
“Things are becoming strange these days. They can put even a chameleon to shame by the way they are changing colours. It beats us as to how they are able to do this.”
Last week, minister of state for external affairs General (retd) VK Singh told Parliament in a written reply that there is no bar on so-called Kashmiri leaders meetings with representatives of any country in India since the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of the Union of India and they are Indian citizens.
Singh reiterated Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government’s stand that there can’t be any role for any third party in the India-Pakistan dialogue process.
“India has consistently maintained that there is no role for a third party in the bilateral dialogue between India and Pakistan as per the Simla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration. India’s displeasure at Pakistan’s attempts to interfere in India’s internal affairs has been repeatedly conveyed to Pakistan,” he added.
The NDA government had in August 2014 cancelled the foreign secretary-level talks with Islamabad over Pakistan’s high commissioner Abdul Basit’s meeting with Hurriyat leaders prior to the talks.
Singh’s statement was welcomed by the moderate Hurriyat Conference while the hardline faction said peace will not be restored until promises made by the Centre to Kashmiri people were fulfilled.
(With ANI and PTI inputs)