Hurriyat leaders await ‘date’ with PM
BJP flays minister’s remark on Hurriyat leaders
14 hurt in copter crash in Poonch
Hurriyat leaders await ‘date’ with PM
Jammu, June 21
This questions seem to have assumed significance following the divergent stand taken by the Centre and the APHC vis-a-vis the resumption of dialogue with the separatist conglomerate.
The APHC leadership has announced umpteen times, in the past one year, that they are willing and keen to see the resumption of the dialogue with the Centre. The Prime Minister, Mr Manmohan Singh, the Union Home Minister, Mr Shivraj Patil and his junior colleague Mr Sriprakash Jaiswal, have also stated that the Government of India is prepared and willing to talk to any political group, including the APHC, for talks.
On their return from a 15-day tour of Pakistan the APHC leaders said, “after meeting Pakistani leaders, including President Gen Pervez Musharraf, we are keen on meeting the Indian Prime Minister and the ball now is in the court of Delhi.”
The Minister of State for Home, Mr Sriprakash Jaiswal yesterday repeated what Mr Manmohan Singh had stated a number of times that the Centre was ready to hold talks with any political group, including the APHC and hence the “onus” of opening the dialogue was on the separatists.
A senior APHC leader, Prof Abdul Gani Bhat, explained that “the ball is not in our court. We cannot fix the date for the resumption of the dialogue because Prime Minister, Mr Manmohan Singh or the Union Home Minister, having busy schedule, cannot be available on the dates of our choice.”
He told this correspondent: “We are ready for the resumption of the dialogue with Delhi which can be of interest to India, Pakistan and the people of Jammu and Kashmir. We expect a formal invitation on the pattern of Gen Musharraf who invited us to visit Pakistan by suggesting us to board the June 2 Muzaffarabad bus.”
The APHC leaders are not averse to the Centre’s idea of holding talks with any political group in Jammu and Kashmir. They, however, are of the opinion that holding a dialogue with leaders of the Congress, the PDP and the National Conference has no significance when these organisations do not dispute the state’s accession with India.
The Hurriyat leaders expect, atleast, information about the date when the Prime Minister or the Union Home Minister will be available for holding talks “with us.”
It is in this context the APHC has convened a meeting of the executive committee in Srinagar tomorrow not only for briefing the members of its general council on the outcome of the visit of the Hurriyat leaders to Pakistan and the PoK but also work out a mechanism for facilitating the resumption of the dialogue with the Centre.
Also, the APHC leaders are not prepared to talk to the interlocuters of the Government of India. In the past they had refused to meet Mr K.C. Pant and Mr N.N. Vohra who were appointed by the Centre as its interlocuters.
Despite their boycott Mr Vohra interacted with a large number of leaders belonging to different political organisations besides those connected with social activities and trade.
Inside reports indicated that the APHC leaders are highly keen in meeting Prime Minister, Mr Manmohan Singh, because they feel by doing so they would be on the centre stage of politics. That too when Gen Pervez Musharraf has given some sort of recognition to the APHC being the representative of the people of Kashmir.
Delay or procrastination on the part of the Centre on the resumption of the dialogue with the APHC is a double edged weapon. On one side such a delay may lend legitimacy to the APHC claim that they are in the thick of struggle for the settlement of the Kashmir issue. On the other hand it can also lead to their sidelining if Delhi and Islamabad achieve further success in the ongoing peace process and the confidence-building measures.
Jammu, June 21
In separate statements president of the BJP, Dr Nirmal Singh, and vice-president Prof Hari Om castigated the UPA government and the CPI for sending wrong signals to separatists in Kashmir.
Dr Nirmal Singh said that the latest statement of Union Minister of State for Home, Sriprakash Jaiswal, in which he had asserted that Hurriyat leaders would not be involved in the Indo-Pak talks, was misleading because the UPA government had already “accorded respectability to the unelected valley-based Hurriyat leaders by allowing them to flout all norms while crossing over to Pakistan for discussing political future of Jammu and Kashmir.”
The BJP president said that the UPA government should have “initiated legal proceedings against those Hurriyat leaders who had gone to Pakistan without permission from Delhi.” He said the way the Centre had not taken any cognisance of the violation of the agreement by the Hurriyat leaders indicated that the UPA government was “determined to go by the wishes of these handful Kashmiri fundamentalists.”
Dr Nirmal Singh also questioned Mr Jaiswal’s claim that the security scenario in Jammu and Kashmir had registered improvement. He said the security scenario had “assumed alarming proportions which was evident from the series of bomb explosions and gun and grenade attacks by the militants in different parts of the state in recent weeks.”
He wanted a round table conference in which leaders belonging to the political mainstream from Jammu and Ladakh were invited for setting the future of the state.”
The BJP vice-president rejected the CPM national secretary, Shameem Faizi’s plea for granting “autonomy” to Jammu and Kashmir.
Prof Hari Om said here today since the state already enjoyed special status in the Indian union the demand for granting autonomy would not only result in independence for the state but encourage to separatists operating in Punjab and north-eastern regions.
The BJP vice-president favoured abrogation of Article 370 which had allowed liberty to the valley-centric politicians and bureaucrats in giving a raw deal to the people of the Jammu and Ladakh regions.
He said that instead of autonomy the Government should scrap special status the state enjoyed so that Jammu and Kashmir integrated with India fully.
Prof Hari Om said that there was no reason for people in the valley to have autonomy. If there was need for having autonomy it was in Jammu and Ladakh regions so that people in the two regions had not to bank on the “whims and prejudices” of the valley-based political leaders and bureaucrats.
Srinagar, June 21
Breakaway Hurriyat Chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani also joined the separatist leaders to express solidarity and show unanimity on the issue.
Mr Geelani along with other separatist leaders converged at the court complex here on the call given by Mr Shah and the Jammu and Kashmir Bar Association.
This was the first time in the recent past that separatist leaders sank differences and came on a single platform for a “common cause”. The fast started at 9 a.m.
Mr Shah earlier wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, seeking their help in getting back the mortal remains of Maqbool Bhat.
“The roadblock in the ongoing peace process between India and Pakistan could be undone by facilitating the return of late Maqbool Bhat’s mortal remains to the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” Mr Shah had said in the letter.
The return of Maqbool Bhat’s mortal remains would start an emotional dialogue between India, Pakistan and the people of the state, he added.
Mr Shah, in his letter to Gen Musharraf, sought the Pakistani President’s help in getting back the late JKLF leader’s remains. Maqbool Bhat was hanged and later buried by the authorities in Tihar jail on February 11, 1984.
“Late Maqbool Bhat’s grave at the Tihar jail has been desecrated by the authorities. This has hurt the sentiments of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and the act could endanger the ongoing peace process,” Mr Shah alleged.
The DFP leader had also claimed that the authorities have built a concrete structure over the grave.
“We have sought international attention to our long-pending demand that the remains of late Maqbool Bhat be returned to us.
We are once again requesting the authorities to fulfill our demand,” he added.
“If this is not done it could derail the ongoing peace process and damage the gains of Confidence-Building Measures taken by India and Pakistan in recent past,” Mr Shah had claimed. — UNI
14 hurt in copter crash in Poonch
Jammu, June 21 The chopper, with 19 personnel on board, was on an operational maintenance sorty when it crashed at Dera Wali Gali helipad while landing this morning, Col D.K. Badola of the 16 Corps, said here. The rotar blades of the chopper hit a tree while landing, and lost its balance and caught fire. The pilots sounded warning bells telling the personnel to jump out, Colonel Badola said, adding that due to the fire and jumping 12 Army men and two IAF men were injured. The pilots, Station Manager and Group Captain R. Shanker and Wg Cdr S. Sinha escaped unhurt, while the chopper rolled down 200 feet downhill, the Colonel said. An official release in Delhi, however, said eight personnel and one crew member (a flight engineer) was injured in the crash. No serious injuries had been reported and there was “no/minor” damage to civil property. The injured have been hospitalised in Potha military hospital. Top IAF sources ruled out sabotage and said a court of inquiry had been ordered into the crash.
Jammu, June 21
The chopper, with 19 personnel on board, was on an operational maintenance sorty when it crashed at Dera Wali Gali helipad while landing this morning, Col D.K. Badola of the 16 Corps, said here.
The rotar blades of the chopper hit a tree while landing, and lost its balance and caught fire. The pilots sounded warning bells telling the personnel to jump out, Colonel Badola said, adding that due to the fire and jumping 12 Army men and two IAF men were injured.
The pilots, Station Manager and Group Captain R. Shanker and Wg Cdr S. Sinha escaped unhurt, while the chopper rolled down 200 feet downhill, the Colonel said.
An official release in Delhi, however, said eight personnel and one crew member (a flight engineer) was injured in the crash. No serious injuries had been reported and there was “no/minor” damage to civil property.
The injured have been hospitalised in Potha military hospital.
Top IAF sources ruled out sabotage and said a court of inquiry had been ordered into the crash. — PTI