Go back, we want freedom: J&K separatists tell all-party delegation

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A huge graffiti, ‘Go India, Go Back”, written by Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s supporters on the outer wall of his office-cum-residence greeted the three-member team of the All Party Delegation (APD) at the posh Hyderpora in Srinagar.

The members included CPI leader D Raja, Janata Dal (United) leader Sharad Yadav and CPI(M) secretary Sitaram Yechury. However, the trio was in for a major shock when despite repeated knocks, the Hurriyat hawk did not open the door.

What added insult to injury was a mob shouting anti-India and pro-freedom slogans outside Geelani’s residence despite heavy security. Cries of ‘Go India, go back… we want freedom’ rent the air as APD members unsuccessfully tried to pull off a miracle to meet Geelani.

“We came here to talk and listen to Mr Geelani. But he didn’t open the door. We can move forward only through talks,” said Yechury.

Geelani’s snub is contrary to what happened in 2010 when a four-member delegation of APD, including Yechury, Assaduddin Owaisi, TR Baalu and NN Rao called on him and moderate Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and JKLF chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik at their residences to break the logjam and open channels of communication.

Displaying Kashmiri hospitality, the separatists had received the parliamentarians with open arms, but stuck to their stated positions. Six years on, the situation has completely changed. Cynicism has replaced camaraderie and distrust hope.

It was evident again when Owaisi had to return empty-handed after he tried to meet Mirwaiz in the Cheshma Shahi hut, designated as a sub-jail. Owaisi drove to the jail with the hope to meet Mirwaiz in detention. But the moderate Hurriyat leader refused to talk.

“He (Mirwaiz) said they have decided not to meet anyone. He is quite upset about the killings. He told me that they have decided not to meet, not to talk to him because the government is not serious about a political dialogue. There is no seriousness and the cycle of violence keeps repeating,” Owasi told the media after visiting the sub-jail.

The leaders were snubbed again when they went to meet incarcerated JKLF chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik at the Humhama police mess. D Raja, Yadav and Yechury failed to convince Malik to talk. Malik sahab refused to meet the delegation”, said a spokesman of JKLF.

The refusal of Geelani, Malik and Mirwaiz, who are supervising the current agitation under the banner of Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), to meet the APD members have spurred the belief that there may be no immediate end to the unrest and it may stretch further. More than 72 people have died and over 8,000 people injured since the unrest began after the killing of Hizb-ul-Mujhideen commander Burhan Wani on July 8.

Earlier, the JRL rejected the invite of PDP president Mehbooa Mufti to meet APD.

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