Amid killing no fun to meet home minister: trade bodies

: As Home Minister Rajnath Singh has reached the valley amid mass unrest and civilian killings to hold dialogue with cross section of society here, Kashmir’s trade bodies have decided not to meet the visiting union minister.

The state government had sent invitations to the business community for a meeting with the visiting Singh. But traders’ bodies said they will not meet the minister. Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation Muhammad Yasin Khan told KNS that if India wants to resolve the Kashmir dispute, it should hold dialogue with the real representatives of the state and Pakistan, which is a party to the dispute.

“We are traders, what would India achieve by talking to us?” Khan said.

“Kashmir is a dispute accepted by the world community. Our real representatives are pro-freedom leaders. India should hold dialogue with Pakistan and our leaders if it is sincere in resolving the Kashmir dispute,” Khan said. He said that the visits of Indian ministers and other politicians are “damage control” exercises. “So, we have decided not to meet” the home minister Rajnath Singh.

Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA) said that the Government of India (GoI) should keep the fact in their mind that Kashmir issue is not any rehabilitation or relief. “We have boycotted the meeting with Home Minister Rajnath Singh as near about 70 people were killed in 2008, 126 were killed in 2010 and more than 50 were killed in just 15 days in the current year. Until the government will not punish those killers, attending meeting with any person won’t prove anything,” he said.

Taking a dig at Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, Dar said that crocodile tears can’t wash away the blood of innocent Kashmiris and asked her to punish those who killed more than 200 youth civilians since 2008. Chairman of Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers Cum Dealers Union (KVFGCDU), Bashir Ahmad Basheer told KNS that they have boycotted the meeting with Rajnath Singh on the grounds that the current unrest in the valley is purely a political issue and needs to be settled by taking all the stakeholders including Hurriyat Conference on board.

Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) and Federation Chamber of Industries Kashmir (FCIK) have said they too will not meet the minister. While civil society group, Kashmir Centre for Social and Development Studies (KCSDS), group of academicians, lawyers, doctors, columnists, businessmen and scholars, said they would not have gone to meet the Indian Home Minister had they been invited.

“It is out of question to meet them when brutality is being unleashed non-stop on people here. Children are being blinded. It is so much painful,” Hameeda Nayeem, Chairperson of KCSDS said.

“Who will the minister talk to? People have been raising their voice for freedom from the last many decades and entire world knows it. India pretends as if it does not know what Kashmiris demand,” she said. With mass unrest, that has gripped Kashmir following the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani, showing no signs of any let up,

Rajnath Singh has embarked on a two-day visit to the valley that has been gripped by mass unrest following killings of civilians after killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani on July 8. It will be first high profile visit to Srinagar by any central leader since the unrest broke out on July 9. Sources said that Singh will review the prevailing situation and appeal the people here to maintain calm and help in restoring peace. Singh is scheduled to meet trade bodies, civil society and other stake holders.

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