Separatists Hail BJP Bid to Resolve Kashmir Tangle
Giving a major boost to the main Opposition BJP especially in an election year, some of the separatist leaders in Jammu& Kashmir said the erstwhile Atal Behari Vajpayee-led NDA Government was far more positively disposed towards finding a solution to the Kashmir issue than the incumbent Congress-led UPA. “The BJP-NDA Government had shown more inclination towards resolving the Kashmir issue than UPA,” said Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chairman of the moderate faction of Hurriyat Conference.
“Vajpayee during his tenure as Prime Minister had declared Kashmir a humane issue, which needs to be addressed within the ambit of humanity,” he pointed out.
Maintaining that a strong political will is needed to resolve the Kashmir issue, the leader, who had held talks with both the BJP and Congress-led Governments at the Centre said, “Kashmir’s leadership will support any serious dialogue aimed at resolving the issue.”
According to separatist leader and Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) chairman Shabir Shah, the situation in Kashmir would have been different if the Vajpayee Government had won the 2004 LS polls. “He had a stature of his own and had said that he wanted to resolve the Kashmir issue during his lifetime,” he said.
Even though the UPA Government held talks with the Kashmiri leaders, none of the promises, including steps to end the human rights violations, were honoured by the Congress-led dispensation, Shah pointed out. He said whichever party comes to power at the Centre it should take solid and concrete steps to resolve the Kashmir issue.
However, separatist-turned-mainstream leader Sajjad Gani Lone said if the BJP were to come to power, it would definitely have some positive impact on the Kashmir issue and Kashmiris.
“Unlike the Congress, BJP leaders are not arrogant and disdainful when it comes to talks on Kashmir. The Vajpayee Government showed respect to Kashmir and Kashmiris,” he said.
Lone, whose father Abdul Gani Lone was killed in a militant attack in 2002, said some of Kashmiris identified the BJP with the RSS. But if the BJP were to come to power, it would definitely bring positive results for the Kashmiris.
Yasin Malik, chairman of the pro-independence Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front(JKLF), said all the Indian political parties-- be it the Congress, BJP, Aam Aadmi or the CPM-led Left bloc-- toed the RSS line, when it came to Kashmir and the people of the border state. “These parties echo the line of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs when it comes to talking about Kashmir,” he said, adding New Delhi had held several rounds of discussions with the Kashmiri leaders in the last 66 years, but it had failed to honour its promises.
PDP chairperson Mehbooba Mufti, whose father Mufti Mohammed Sayeed was J&K Chief Minister when Vajpayee reached out to Pakistan, had also hailed the BJP patriarch.