Delhi didn’t give us autonomy, what will they offer you: Farooq Abdullah to Hurriyat

National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah is not the one to mince his words, and for now he has lived up to that reputation.
Delhi didn’t give us autonomy, what will they offer you: Farooq Abdullah to Hurriyat
Photo: Habib Naqash/GK

National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah is not the one to mince his words, and for now he has lived up to that reputation. He has cautioned the separatist leadership against going into formal talks with the government of India unless New Delhi has a "concrete proposal" for the resolution of the Kashmir issue.

"Don't fall in the trap," the former Chief Minister warned separatists, in an exclusive interview with Greater Kashmir. "They didn't give us autonomy, which was passed by the state assembly and is within the ambit of constitution, what will they offer to you (separatists)?"

Lounging in a chair on a hot afternoon at his Gupkar Road residence, Abdullah was direct in his message to the Hurriyat leadership. "Don't talk for the sake of talks. I don't think they (BJP) are ready to give you (separatist) anything. Inki (the center) neyattheeknahihai. Yeah inkonaomeinutaarkarzaleelkarnachahtayhai. (they are not sincere in their intentions. They want to drag them to table only to discredit them)," said Abdullah

Abdullah, a LokSabha from Srinagar, said the idea of New Delhi talking with the separatists was "just for sake of it" and to "fill in the blanks." He said if the government of India was serious about holding talks it would have defined the contours of dialogue and specified what they want to talk about.

Abdullah's "message" to the Hurriyat leadership comes in the wake of the union home minister Rajnath Singh's suggestion on a TV show in New Delhi last month that the government of India was ready to hold dialogue with the separatists. During his just-concluded two day visit to J&K, Singh reiterated the government's "conviction" for resolving Kashmir and said the government was willing to hold dialogue with everyone.

"Have they (the center) started any process? Has any invitation letter gone to Hurriyat? And on what basis are they going to talk. They are just trying to hoodwink the people of Kashmir and the world community. This (dialogue offer) is driven by compulsion. There is pressure from the world on India that Kashmir must be normalized. The Prime Minister must be facing this question everywhere," said Abdullah.

While the separatists have so far not taken any decision on the dialogue offer, they have however asked the government of India to first clear the "ambiguity" over the proposal for entering into a dialogue and "speak in one language what you want to talk about".

Abdullah said the Hurriyat Conference has been demanding that the government of India should first accept Kashmir as a dispute to pave way for dialogue. "Is BJP ready to listen to the demand from separatists? No. So where and how will talks take place," asked Abdullah.

Abdullah also took a jibe at the center over its changing stand on the separatists. He said one day the government claims that Hurriyat is irrelevant and the next day they assert that Hurriyat is relevant.

"There is no concerted policy with BJP for Kashmir. Bus logoonkokishtimeinutarnachahatayhai," Abdullah said, adding BJP has its "own plans" for Kashmir.  

At the same time, Abdullah felt that the separatist leadership wasn't going to enter into a process of dialogue with New Delhi unless "Pakistan gives them a go ahead."

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