Facing allegations of holding secret parleys with New Delhi and teaming up with mainstream political parties, the Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Saturday decided to reject Home Minister P. Chidambaram’s quiet diplomacy plan.
“We reject any quiet diplomacy on Kashmir. We are bound by the constitution of the Hurriyat Conference that stands for right to self determination. We are not going to enter into any sell out on Kashmir. Any solution within the Indian constitution is unacceptable to the Hurriyat Conference,” said Shabir Ahmad Shah, a senior separatist leader of the Mirwaiz’s Hurriyat Conference.
Hardening its stand, the Hurriyat leader said, “India has again started beating the drum of dialogue on the Kashmir issue. But they are offering talks to political parties like National Conference and Peoples’ Democratic Party which was clear from the recent speeches of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh...If New Delhi wants a dialogue it should explain what they want to talk about.”
He was speaking at a conference on ‘Global discourse on resolution of Kashmir dispute’ organised by the High Court Bar Association in Srinagar. The conference for the first time since the 2008 Amarnath unrest in the Valley was able to unite the separatist spectrum, both moderate and hardliners, which otherwise do not see eye to eye.
Many speakers at the conference, including firebrand Dukhtaran-e-Milat chief Asiya Andrabi and former Hizbullah (a militant outfit) chief Mushtaq-ul-Islam, without naming the Mirwaiz’s Hurriyat Conference accused a separatist group of entering into a dialogue with New Delhi for a sell out on Kashmir and cosying up to the mainstream People’s Democratic Party.
“We know who is meeting whom in New Delhi. But let me assure you that no compromise will be allowed on Kashmir. Nobody will be allowed to sell the sacrifices of people of Kashmir,” said Asiya Andrabi.
Defending the Hurriyat position on dialogue, Nayeem Ahmad Khan, provincial president of Hurriyat Conference, said, “We are not for power. We are for a strategy to reach the goal of right to self-determination. We are not averse to dialogue and cannot keep our eyes closed. This is the right time to form a joint strategy to force India for a solution on the Kashmir issue.”
Khan ruled out any move to sit with the PDP or any mainstream political party in any dialogue process. “Prof Abdul Ghani Bhat is a senior colleague not Hurriyat spokesman.” Prof Bhat had at a seminar in New Delhi last week proposed sitting with the PDP to resolve the Kashmir issue.
“There is no deviation in our stand. We need to come together and form a united strategy to give people a hope,” said Khan.
Speaking at the conference, Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front leader Yasin Malik cautioned against “politics of isolation.”
“I oppose direct dialogue with New Delhi. We cannot humiliate the dialogue institution,” said Malik. “We need to have support from outside. We are victims. There are more than 7 lakh troops in Kashmir and we know we cannot throw them away militarily.”
Both Malik and Shah asked Kashmir civil society to engage India and Pakistan to understand their position on Kashmir. “Let we form a body of 20 to 25 intellectuals who will engage New Delhi and Islamabad to know what is going on track II diplomacy. There is need to institutionalise civil society here.”
Malik said he was ready to hammer out differences with other separatist groups.
Reacting to unification of Hurriyat Conference, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who heads another faction of the Hurriyat Conference, said: “Any unification has to be on principles. You can judge yourself who is moving away from principles.”
Geeelani said he will not be part of any “futile dialogue exercise”. “India should accept Kashmir a dispute, repeal black laws, release prisoners and withdraw Disturbed Area Act. Then hold an unconditional tripartite dialogue to hold plebiscite in Kashmir.”
The conference was also addressed by Pakistan-occupied Kashmir’s Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider and its assembly speaker Shah Ghulam Qadir on mobilephones. Separatist leaders like Nazir Ahmad Shawl from London, Ghulam Nabi Fai from Washington also released their speeches.