Former Hurriyat chief Abdul Gani Bhat says 'can't repeat past mistakes' even as separatists reject talks with Dineshwar Sharma

Srinagar: A split emerged in separatist ranks on Tuesday. Top party leader and former Hurriyat Conference chairman professor Abdul Gani Bhat said that “mistakes’’ of the past of rejecting talks with New Delhi’s interlocutors “can’t be repeated".

 Former Hurriyat chief Abdul Gani Bhat says cant repeat past mistakes even as separatists reject talks with Dineshwar Sharma

File image of Dineshwar Sharma. Image courtesy: Twitter/@AIR

Meanwhile, the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) comprising Hurriyat (G) chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Hurriyat (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, and Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman Yaseen Malik have rejected the offer of talks with Government of India (GoI) interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma, describing it as a “time-buying tactics.’’ However, Bhat said talks between India, Pakistan and New Delhi will prevent Kashmir from “turning into a hell’’.

Bhat, who is among the top separatist leaders to have met former prime ministers Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh, said that he has always been supporting talks. This statement came even as Mirwaiz Umer’s Hurriyat (M), of which Bhat is an executive member, said that the amnesty to first-time stone-pelters in Kashmir on the recommendation of Sharma was an 'eyewash' and the talks were futile. Last month, JRL said that the engagement with Sharma was “an exercise in futility.’’

Bhat, who is chairman of Muslim Conference, has sent out feelers that he is willing to engage with New Delhi, which has broken the ice over the Kashmir deadlock and has throwing up the possibilities of further improvement. Bhat said he is advocating dialogue on Kashmir. “If Sharma comes to my office it is nice. I am open to dialogue and will also take my people into confidence. I don’t want to be tied to the rope of yesterday and to the events that have passed and gone into the abyss of time,’’ he told Firstpost.

Bhat said that India and Pakistan should talk over Kashmir and also take the people of Kashmir into confidence. “If I talk to Sharma and tell him, look, unless Pakistan is involved in talks you can’t achieve a breakthrough then it is good and not bad. Talking is the only solution. India is a country with nuclear weapons. So is Pakistan. The two countries are neck-deep in Kashmir and if they don’t talk, we might meet in hell the next day.’’

The former Hurriyat chairman said that the people of India talk to Pakistanis. “Whether at the official level or non-official or diplomatic level, the fact is that they are talking. I heard the National Security Advisor of Pakistan say that we will have to tear apart the curtains and come out.’’

Pakistan’s NSA, General (retd), Nasir Janjua, recently said that the “backdoor’’ diplomacy was on between India and Pakistan to resolve “all issues’’ and “India has to eventually come to table for talks to protect its own interests.”

Unlike Bhat, JRL has hardened its stance and even recently paid tributes to five militants who were killed in an encounter with forces in Futlipora in Budgam and in Sopore. On Monday, the JRL sought the intervention of international human rights organisations after a specially-abled youth was detained under the public safety act (PSA).

Malik recently said “pro-India politicians and their political parties are responsible for all miseries Kashmiris are facing from the last 70 years.”

"Pro-India politicians and their parties are used for promoting a politics of deception by their Indian masters and after every six years we see a change in their theatrical role; one assuming power and another taking the charge of Opposition,’’ he said.

Malik said on the talks with Sharma, as part of the JRL, he has made his position clear and there was no change in it.

However, Bhat said that even as previous efforts of dialogue between Government of India and Kashmiri leadership have failed, the separatists need not be “ tied down by the past failures.’’

“If nothing happened, there are reasons that nothing happened. I don’t want to be tied down by failures of yesterdays' talks. I can’t see a ray of hope if we don’t talk. India has developed deadly missiles and so has Pakistan. China is in Pakistan through CPEC, Americans are in Afghanistan and through US, India is also in Afghanistan. It is a huge problem. We will have to address Kashmir in any case, otherwise we may be caught up in a very difficult situation,’’ Bhat added.

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Updated Date: Dec 05, 2017 17:15:47 IST