Centre ready to talk to Hurriyat: Ram Madhav

Centre ready to talk to Hurriyat: Ram Madhav
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New Delhi, Jun 5: Senior BJP leader Ram Madhav has said that the government is open to talks with Hurriyat Conference, a separatist group operating in the Kashmir Valley. Madhav, who is party’s in-charge for Jammu & Kashmir, told said that Centre’s decision to announce a temporary ceasefire in the Valley during Ramadhan was a goodwill gesture.
The BJP leader said that Home Minister Rajnath Singh has invited Hurriyat for talks on record. However, he clarified that talks with Hurriyat leaders and talks with Pakistan are entirely different issues. Madhav said that final decision regarding continuation of ceasefire will be taken at the end of Ramadhan month.
He further said that government has announced the ceasefire voluntarily, and if the militants continue with mischievous acts, security forces will have no option but to retaliate in a similar manner. “We have announced suspension of operations, but then if there are any militant activities, security forces will respond appropriately,” said Madhav.
The BJP leader maintained that if the situation deteriorates the government will have to take tough measures. Madhav also said that the government hopes that Hurriyat will respond positively to peace talks, but said holding talks with Pakistan was a different matter.
Asked if the government is already speaking to the Hurriyat through back channels, Madhav said that Modi-led government has made arrangements to hold talks with all sections of the society in the Kashmir valley. The leader said that government wishes to have open political negotiations with different sections, which includes Hurriyat.
Interestingly, the comment came on a day when Centre’s interlocutor for Jammu and Kashmir Dineshwar Sharma said that his biggest challenge as the Centre’s representative in the state was to calm down the sentiments of the people and bring down violence in the region, failing which “it will be difficult to think about any political dialogue or political solution.
“I fully agree it is a chicken and egg situation — whether the situation needs to calm to begin a political dialogue or the start of a political dialogue would help calm the situation. But I think we need to curtail the anger, bring down the violence first,” Sharma said. “First, anger has to be addressed, then let us see what can be a possibility which is acceptable to everybody.”