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Hurriyat hardliner Geelani rules out meeting with Kashmir interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma

Hurriyat insiders say Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s stance suggests that he favours a political engagement between the separatists and the government

india Updated: Jun 06, 2018 23:40 IST
Rajesh Ahuja
Rajesh Ahuja
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Syed Ali Shah Geelani,Dineshwar Sharma,Mirwaiz Umar Farooq
Hurriyat hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani (Waseem Andrabi/HT File Photo)

Hurriyat hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani has ruled out a meeting with the Centre’s Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma, saying assigning the task of laying groundwork for a dialogue with separatists to a former Intelligence Bureau chief indicated the government was considering Kashmir merely an “administrative problem”.

Hurriyat insiders say Geelani’s stance suggests that he favours a political engagement between the separatists and the government. When asked to clarify whether the octogenarian separatist was hinting that he is open to a meeting with a political person appointed by the Centre, his spokesman GA Gulzar said: “You are free to interpret his statement. He will not say more on this.”

In a written reply on a question, Geelani said: “The job assigned to Mr Dineshwar Sharma was to have some groundwork for a bilateral dialogue as if Kashmir is an administrative problem. We believe, beyond any doubt, that the people of Kashmir (J&K) demand the right to self-determination...”

When further asked whether the ongoing halt on security operations should be extended, the separatist, who forms the troika of the Hurriyat’s leadership with Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik, termed the “ceasefire” as a “cruel joke”.

“There is no let up... People get killed, maimed and incarcerated and now run over by the military vehicles... It has become a routine matter in Kashmir so the question of any extension in the ceasefire doesn’t matter...” said Geelani in another written reply.

First Published: Jun 06, 2018 23:10 IST