Atmosphere ‘hostile’ for talks, Prof Bhat may have to wait!

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Afaq Bhat

Srinagar, May 23: Senior leader of Hurriyat Conference (M) Professor Abdul Gani Bhat has hinted that separatists are ready to hold talks with New Delhi and the dialogue process would start soon.
Professor Bhat, who has also remained the Chairman of Hurriyat Conference in the past, has always maintained that dialogue is the only way out. “It seems Prof Bhat needs to be told that recently the Joint Resistance Leadership comprising Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik rejected the ceasefire announced by New Delhi,” said a Kashmir watcher.
He said, “Had separatists been ready for talks they would have welcomed the ceasefire initiative and would have even asked the militants to reciprocate.”
He said that ground situation in the Valley, especially in south Kashmir is grim. “Atmosphere is not conducive for talks. No parleys can be held till the ground situation changes for better,” the Kashmir watcher added.
He said that most second rung separatist leaders have been put behind bars. The separatists’ who are not in jails are every now and then placed under detention and their movement is restricted. “How come talks will be held in such a hostile atmosphere is a million dollar question which Prof Bhat only can answer?” the Kashmir watcher asked.
A politician said that everyone wants the ice to break but the tough posture adopted by New Delhi has put a big question mark over holding any negotiations either with Kashmiris or with Pakistan. “Mainstream politicians in Kashmir have made numerous requests to the leaders of both Indi and Pakistan to end the hostilities and restart the talks process but none of the countries have paid any heed towards these pleas,” he added.
The politician said that Professor Bhat showing inclination towards the talks is a good omen but many people within his own camp are opposed to any such idea at this point of time. “Separatist camp has been on the hit list of the people sitting in New Delhi. Since the day BJP led government has come into power in the Centre it has left no stone unturned to make the sepeartists irrelevant. One major reason for India not holding talks with Pakistan is that neighbourng country considers the separatist leaders as the main stakeholders and wants New Delhi to involve them in the process,” he added.
An insider revealed that despite people in Delhi taking a “tough stand” a few people sitting in the national capital have realized that military might is not the solution. “There have been indications that New Delhi wants to take the separtists on board and a few covert efforts have also been put to make them join the process. Till date efforts have not materialized,” the insider added.