New Delhi wants Geelani on board | May Offer Unconditional Dialogue

By: Javaid Malik
Srinagar: Hectic deliberations are on in New Delhi to put in a “serious effort” to rope in Kashmiri separatist leaders, including the Chairman of Hurriyat Conference (G) Syed Ali Shah Geelani for talks.
Informed sources told Greater Kashmir that if “all goes well”, New Delhi may offer an “unconditional dialogue” to separatists at the Home Minister’s or the Prime Minister’s level.
Officials and political leaders in New Delhi, according to sources, believe that talks have to be meaningful. “For any dialogue to succeed Geelani has to be taken on board,” a top official is understood to have said during a high level meeting on the issue in New Delhi recently.
The Hurriyat (G) Chairman during past 20-years has stayed away from holding any direct talks with New Delhi. He has always reiterated that New Delhi should accept Kashmir as a dispute and then only any parleys can be held.
Sources said that New Delhi is taking all the aspects into consideration to ensure “meaningful” talks. “Many people in Delhi believe that not much can be achieved by keeping Geelani at bay. His demands have to be looked into and needs to be included for making any serious effort to ensure that Kashmir problem is resolved,” they said, adding that leaders in New Delhi are discussing the four points which were put forward by the veteran leader when the All Party Delegation visited Kashmir Valley amidst unrest in 2010.
Geelani had demanded release of political prisoners, revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), reduction in number of forces and bringing culprits, who were responsible for the killing of 117 youths during last year’s unrest, to justice.
“The groundwork is on to revoke AFSPA while officials are preparing a list of Kashmiri prisoners lodged in various jails. Many bunkers in the city and major towns of the Valley have been dismantled to reduce the presence of forces in civilian areas,” sources said. “Both the sides have to compromise and reach a meeting point. Stated positions have to be given up for achieving any breakthrough.”
They said that India and Pakistan resuming stalled talks process is also proving handy. “If the Indo-Pak dialogue continues at the same pace, there is every possibility of New Delhi taking help from Pakistan to rope in Geelani for talks,” sources added.
They said that a major plan is on the anvil to hold deliberations with Kashmiri leaders in coming two-years: 2012 and 13. “Report submitted by the three member panel of interlocutors, whom New Delhi had appointed to hold deliberations with various shades of opinion in Kashmir, can act as a precise data to carry forward the talks process. After the plan for talks is formulated track-II team will be sent to Kashmir to assess the ground situation. The team will try to talk to the close lieutenants of the separatist leaders to send the message across,” said a source. “Once the ground work is completed, New Delhi will offer an unconditional dialogue to separatists.”
Geelani, who has always maintained that he is not averse to talks said, “If any such offer is made. We will sit and discuss it. Any decision in this regard will be collective.”


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