M A I N   N E W S

All-party MPs meet separatists
Delegation discusses issues with APHC leaders Geelani, Mirwaiz, JKLF chief Malik
Ehsan Fazili
Tribune News Service

MPs with Geelani at his residence.
MPs with Geelani at his residence. Tribune photo: Mohd Amin War

Srinagar, September 20
As the all-party delegation led by Union Home Minister P Chidambaram listened to various delegations, groups of the visiting parliamentarians met separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik separately here today. The historic move forward was taken even as the separatists had rejected the Central government’s invitation to hold talks with the all-party delegation.

A five-member delegation led by the CPM leader Sitaram Yechuri called on Syed Ali Geelani, chairman of the hardline faction of the APHC, at his Hyderpora residence this afternoon. Geelani, welcoming the members as guests, reiterated his stand that if the Central government fulfilled the five conditions put forth by the APHC, normalcy would be restored in Kashmir. The first condition, he declared, was that Kashmir should be accepted as “a dispute”.

The other conditions laid down by the hardline leader include initiation of complete demilitarisation of the state, commitment from the Prime Minister to put an end to the killings and arrests of youths, unconditional release of all political prisoners and withdrawal of cases against youths.

He also sought arrest and prosecution of security personnel allegedly responsible for killing of youths during the ongoing unrest. The CPM leader assured Geelani that they would convey his stand to the Central government.

The chairman of the moderate faction of the APHC, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, interacting with another group of members of the delegation led by Gurudas Dasgupta that called on him at his Nigeen residence also impressed upon them to address the basic Kashmir issue. He reiterated the APHC stand on the tripartite talks between India, Pakistan and the people of Kashmir. The issue, he said, was not about the ongoing violence but that of the resolution of the Kashmir issue that was pending for the last six decades. Mirwaiz, who has had a few rounds of talks with the Central government and has also visited Pakistan, said the APHC had been making its stand clear, particularly since 2006.

Another delegation called on JKLF chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik at his Maisuma residence this evening. Malik expressed hope that the visit of the delegation to Kashmir would help in the restoration of peace and normalcy.

Earlier, deciding not to meet the delegation, Mirwaiz and Yasin Malik, had sent a joint memorandum demanding withdrawal of troops, revocation of special powers to the security forces and release of political detenues for restoration of peace.

The 37-member delegation led by Chidambaram and Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister P K Bansal arrived here this morning amid tight security arrangements and curfew restrictions in the entire valley. The delegation was received at the airport by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand and state’s Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ali Mohammad Sagar. The visiting delegation included union ministers Farooq Abdullah and Dinesh Trivedi and BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley. While the meetings were going, at least five persons were injured when the police opened fire to quell demonstrators pelting security personnel with stones at Nathipora near Sopore in Baramulla district of north Kashmir. Two of the seriously injured were shifted to a hospital here.





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