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Centre should include separatists to start dialogue on J&K issue: Delegation

December 04, 2010 16:41 IST
A delegation of members of Parliament and civil society members, who are on a "fact-finding" tour of Jammu and Kashmir, on Saturday asked the Centre to start a dialogue process for resolution of Kashmir issue and include separatist leaders like Syed Ali Shah Geelani in it.

After holding an hour-long meeting with Geelani at his residence in Srinagar, delegation members led by Lok Janshakti Party president Ram Vilas Paswan told mediapersons that they had come to follow up on the visit of the all-party delegation led by Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, who visited the Valley in September.

"We are happy to note that the situation in Kashmir is peaceful after the visit of the all-party delegation. The government announced an eight-point package after the visit but there is no visible implementation of these steps on ground," said Paswan, who was speaking on behalf of the delegation members. "The government should start a dialogue on Kashmir issue and include leaders like Geelani in it."

The LJP president expressed dissatisfaction with the appointment and functioning of three Jammu and Kashmir interlocutors appointed by the Centre for holding talks with the cross section of the society. "There is no political representative in the group and they have not been able to take the Kashmiri leadership on board," he said.

Paswan said the government should make public the number of youth arrested under the Public Safety Act and those released after the announcement of the eight-point package by the Centre. "The government should also make public the number of security bunkers removed from Kashmir," he said.

On the five points, which include declaring Kashmir as a dispute, as suggested by Geelani before starting a dialogue process, Paswan said, "While there might be difficulties for the government over the dispute part, the other four suggestions can be implemented for starting talks."

The LJP leader said that he would raise in Parliament the issue of continuous house arrest of Geelani. "If it is true that Geelani has been put under house arrest for such a long time, we will raise it in Parliament. It is wrong and if it is necessary, the government should officially declare it," he added. 

Geelani said he was not against dialogue for resolution of Kashmir issue but the process has to be result-oriented and meaningful. "We are not against the dialogue process but it has to be result-oriented and meaningful. Otherwise, there have been many dialogues over the past 63 years but Kashmir issue is still lingering," he said.

The Hurriyat hawk said he asked the delegation to raise the Kashmir issue in Parliament. Asked about the burning of a school bus in the morning in the city, Geelani said, "There is no place for violence or arson. I once again appeal to the youth to follow the programme given by the leadership, which is to protest peacefully."

The delegation is scheduled to meet moderate Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and opposition Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti during their stay in the Valley. The delegation arrived in Srinagar on Friday on a three-day "fact-finding mission" and met the family of Tufail Mattoo, whose killing had sparked unrest in the Valley.

The delegation comprising filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt and journalist Seema Mustafa, met Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik over dinner on Friday. The delegation also had a closed-door meeting with groups of youth and students.

Parliamentarians D Raja, Danish Ali, Nama Nageswara Rao, Maheshwar Hazari, Bansa Gopal Chowdhury and Jawaharlal Nehru University professor Kamal Mitra Chenoy are the other prominent members of the group.

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