Kashmiri separatists will go ahead with dialogue | india | Hindustan Times
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Kashmiri separatists will go ahead with dialogue

india Updated: Nov 04, 2009 19:21 IST
Arun Joshi

Kashmiri separatists will go ahead with bilateral talks with the Centre to resolve Kashmir issue despite serious differences within their own camp, but they wanted " India to speak in one voice."

With hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani led Hurriyat faction having rejected the call to be on board for the dialogue, moderates were willing to go ahead with talks.

All Parties Hurriyat Conference Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq is having a " cautious " hope with an " evident change" in Prime Minister's words in Kashmir, where October 28 he sent an unconditional invite for talks.

The change is seen in PM's assertion on August 15, when he said that successful elections had proved that "there is no place for separatist thought in Jammu & Kashmir."

Mirwaiz told Hindustan Times in an exclusive interview on phone- first since he returned from abroad after discussing Kashmir issue at an intra-Kashmir conference in London, on October 26, " In principle, we are for talks and we will go ahead"

" And gradually as we hope to make progress, we will get others (in the separatist camp on the board as well."

" We (separatists) are charged with speaking in different voices, but what about Government of India ," he asked, and pointed out that how the talk of talks by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister P Chidambaram was rejected by the army commander , who ruled out demilitarization and repeal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act ..

" India must speak in one voice, first," he demanded.

Pakistan cannot be left out, goes the argument of the separatists. " Whatever is happening there (serial violence, terror strikes almost every where and Pakistan army's offensive against Taliban in South Wazirstan) is not connected to Kashmir," the Mirwaiz, who is one of those separatist leaders, who have visited Pakistan for more than a half a dozen times and held discussions with the current establishment as also with that of Pervez Musharraf on Kashmir issue.

The Mirwaiz has initiated talks with Geelani , JKLF's Yasin Malik and others to build a consensus on the framework of the talks and how to approach the negotiating table.

" Our first effort is to build a consensus within our camp, before bringing the mainstream camp on board."

This was Hurriyat's response to former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, who, Tuesday, had sought to involve all Kashmiri players on one page and stressed the need to submit a common paper to Delhi.

Asked if he and his camp would be able to " silence the guns" in Kashmir, Mirwaiz said, " it would depend on the progress of talks." " As we move forward, I am sure others, including those wielding guns would come on board."

Regarding contradictions in his stance - on the one hands speaking of unconditional talks, and on the other listing conditions and talking of self determination- Mirwaiz , 36, said that the fact of the matter is that the Government of India was creating "confusion" as it is also contradicting its stance time and again.

" Whatever, we may talk, even if it is (former Pakistani president) Pervez Musharraf's four-point formula - self governance, joint mechanism, irrelevant borders and demilitarization - fall in the purview of the self -determination. " Whatever solution is agreed upon, it would be interim in nature, finally after 10 or 15 years, the matter would have to be put before the people."

About his solution of Kashmir, he said " " Well, we have ideas. We have certain things in mind,"

But why don't you concertise those ideas?

" Everything cannot be discussed in public," he said.