Srinagar: Days after the government of India appointed an interlocutor for talks in Jammu and Kashmir, the joint separatist leadership on Tuesday called the exercise “nothing more than a tactic to buy time, adopted under international pressure and regional compulsions, and due to abysmal failure of the state policy of military repression upon people of Kashmir.”
The government of India recently appointed former Intelligence Bureau chief Dineshwar Sharma as its “special representative” to hold a “sustained dialogue” in Jammu and Kashmir.
The joint leadership comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik—after meeting at Geelani’s residence here—said that while the separatist leadership in-principle has always advocated and supported a sincere and productive dialogue as a means of conflict resolution in Jammu and Kashmir, “what it inherently entails from all participants to dialogue is the basic acknowledgment that there is a dispute that has to be resolved. But the government of India continuously refuses to accept this basic premise and the reality on the ground.”
Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “outright dismissal” of former Home minister P Chidambaram’s suggestion calling for restoration of greater autonomy for J&K, the joint leadership said that if the government of India even rejects the demand of its co-political party for restoration of autonomy guaranteed by its own constitution and calling it a betrayal with soldiers and unacceptable, “how will such a dispensation in New Delhi address or engage with the Kashmiris’ political will and aspirations of self-determination for which the people have been relentlessly struggling and sacrificing for the past 70 years.”
Chidambaram had on Saturday said in Rajkot that his interactions in Jammu and Kashmir led him to the conclusion that “when they ask for azaadi (independence), most people—I am not saying all—(an) overwhelming majority want autonomy. Therefore, I think we should seriously examine that question and consider on what areas we can give autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir.”
Pointing out that granting such autonomy will be “perfectly within the Constitution of India”, he had said: “Jammu and Kashmir will remain an integral part of India but it will have larger powers as promised under Article 370.”
The joint leadership said that “this clearly indicates that the hyped appointment of Dineshwar Sharma by government of India as its interlocutor for J&K is nothing more than a tactic to buy time, adopted under international pressures and regional compulsions and due to the abysmal failure of the state policy of military repression upon the people of Kashmir.”
“Sharma’s recent comment that he will come to Kashmir to dissuade the youth from pursuing their legitimate political aspirations so that Kashmir does not become Syria is misleading. To compare the internationally-recognised 70-year-old political and humanitarian issue of Kashmir with that of a sectarian war and power struggle in Syria is deception and propaganda as there is no correlation between the two situations,” the leadership said.
Sharma’s assertion that he is coming to Kashmir with the directive from government of India to “restore peace” rather than addressing the dispute or its resolution in keeping with the overwhelming majority sentiment of people of J&K limits the scope of any engagement with him and makes it an exercise in futility, the separatist trio said.
“Unless the Kashmir dispute is understood and addressed in its historical context and in the background of international commitments made over it, the lasting peace can neither be achieved in J&K nor in the subcontinent. While the repressive state militaristic approach continues in dealing with Kashmir, to talk of peace and dialogue is also a ploy by the government of India to strike a hard bargain which the people of Kashmir and the leadership will never succumb to it,” they said.
The joint leadership said that for any Kashmiri to be a part of “this futile exercise” will “only undermine our internationally-acknowledged legitimate and just struggle, nourished by the blood of our martyrs and the great sacrifices and hardships rendered daily by the masses.”
Geelani, Mirwaiz and Malik reiterated that “use of unlimited force on common people, killings, torture of youth, imprisonments, intimidation, propaganda, media trials, harassment of women and all such inhuman measures will not deter people or the leadership to give up pursuing their legitimate demand for resolution of Kashmir issue as per our will and aspirations.”

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