Track II diplomacy: Civil Society attempts to break logjam

After struggling to bring back normalcy in Kashmir valley, civil society headed by senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha has taken the reins to break the lingering logjam by meeting separatist leaders in the valley.
A five-member delegation led by Yashwant Sinha met separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani at his residence in Srinagar – in a fresh bid at breaking a logjam after more than three months of deadly unrest in the Kashmir Valley.
The team, which includes former bureaucrat Wajahat Habibullah, who has served in Jammu and Kashmir, ex-Air Vice Marshal Kapil Kak, journalist Bharat Bhushan and activist Sushobha Barve landed in Srinagar and straight away drove to Geelani’s
residence in Hyderpora.
This new initiative on the part of civil society is a positive step to end the vicious cycle of violence, as for the first time in three months the separatists agreed to meet someone advocating talks under the ambit of Indian constitution.
Geelani, who heads the hardline faction of separatist Hurriyat Conference, agreed to meet and talk to the Sinha-led delegation. The delegation members were seen entering the highly fortified house where Geelani has been kept under detention for over
three months.
The octogenarian separatist had on September 4 shut the door on Communist Party of India-Marxist General Secretary Sitaram Yechury and other non-BJP MPs who were part of an all-party delegation on a visit to Kashmir.
Sinha and his team members also met other separatist leaders, including moderate Hurriyat head Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front leader Yaseen Malik.
The members of the delegation terming their visit on the humanitarian grounds admitted that they are in the state to share the grievances and pain of the people, who
are caged.
The fresh bid to break ice between separatist groups and the government comes after 108 days of unrest and shutdown that have disrupted normal life in the Kashmir Valley since the July 8 killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.
At least 92 persons were killed and over 12,000 injured in clashes between protesters and security forces. Police have arrested over 7,000 suspected ring leaders of
stone throwers.
This meeting between civil society and separatists is expected to break the logjam and steer the region to peace and normalcy. The delegation arrived here to start Track-II diplomacy to resolve the over three month long unrest in the Valley.

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