Congress distances from Aiyer-Hurriyat meet
The Congress party has maintained contradictory policy on Kashmir as it chose to stay away from the meeting between the civil society group led by senior party leader and former Minister, Mani Shanker Aiyer, with Hurriyat Conference while claiming that it will reach a solution on Kashmir problem through the policy planning group, headed by former Prime Minister, Manomhan Singh.
A civil society group headed by Aiyar yesterday met moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq as well as the group led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani, to discuss the prevailing situation in Kashmir. The group which also included Air vice Marshal (retired) Kapil Kak, O P Sharma, chairman of the Centre for Peace and Progress, and journalist Vinod Sharma, met the Hurriyat leaders.
However, the Congress has distanced itself from its leader Mani Shankar Aiyar’s meeting with Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, saying it never recognized those who are “unelectable and unrepresentative”. It also accused the prime minister of not coming out with a clear policy on Kashmir and asked if the government had any roadmap for dialogue to restore peace in the Valley.
AICC senior spokesperson Anand Sharma criticised the releasing of videos of the Army’s punitive action against Pakistani posts across LoC and said there was no clear plan of this government on Pakistan either.
The truth must come out as to what the government is proposing to do, he said, adding that the Centre has been “opaque” on the issue. Seeking to evade questions on Aiyar-Mirwaiz meeting, which he called an action by an “individual”, Sharma said, “There are enough leaders of BJP who are meeting separatists and the prime minister is silent.”
He was referring to the efforts of former Union Minister and BJP leader Yashwant Sinha to initiate dialogue in Kashmir. “We believe that BJP has displayed naked political opportunism to form a coalition government in the state of Jammu and Kashmir which has not performed and is unable to handle the situation and this is a matter of national concern,” he said. The Congress leader said an individual’s viewpoint may be different from that of the Congress party’s view.
“I cannot comment on individual citizen’s actions. We are commenting about the government of the day, as to how they are engaging and do they have a roadmap for dialogue,” he said on Aiyar’s meeting with moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. The Congress stand on the issue came even as the party has constituted a policy planning group, which is headed by former Prime Minister, to work out a settlement of Kashmir problem. A meeting of the Group was held earlier in New Delhi,
Congress Vice President, Gulam Nabi Monga, said that there are some Congress leaders who have attended the seminar on Kashmir which was organized by a civil society group in their own capacity. He said that the Congress was committed towards ensuring peace in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, and blamed the PDP-BJP government for the deterioration in the situation here.