Why undue haste to meet separatists, asks miffed BJP

via PNS | New Delhi published on September 21, 2010

The BJP is completely taken by surprise with the meeting between members of the all-party delegation to Kashmir and separatists in the Valley on Monday, a move “without taking the Opposition party into confidence”.

The party, which seeks due place for Jammu and Ladakh regions in any agreement between New Delhi and Srinagar, was upset to observe the hurry on part of the Government to reach out to separatists and not the Kashmiri Pandits, who have been chased out of the Valley in the last a few decades.

BJP leaders in New Delhi wondered why the Government decided to jump the gun and meet the separatists when there always has been a “method” in dealing with people demanding azadi for Kashmir.

Three separate teams of the delegation met Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, leaders of the hardline and moderate Hurriyat groups respectively at their homes and JKLF chief Yasin Malik at his office in full media glare.

“Presuming the Government authorised these people to talk to separatists, why was the BJP not taken into confidence? Otherwise the Government must clarify it was an effort by these leaders in their “individual capacity,” senior BJP leaders in New Delhi said on Tuesday. They, however, did not wish to be quoted.

The party also wondered how the delegation could claim of having heard all sections of the society in Kashmir without even meeting the Kashmiri Pandits and those who have been chased away from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.

Following the return of Leaders of the Opposition in Parliament, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley to Delhi on Wednesday, the BJP is expected to come out with a “structured and detailed comment” on the entire issue.

“We would wait for the Government to see how it describes the all-party meeting and its outcome. They certainly have a lot of answering to do,” an office bearer of the party maintained.

In Srinagar, Swaraj even clarified that discussions with separatists was not part of the team’s “mandate” and suggested the decision was not a collective one.

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