NEW DELHI/SRINAGAR:Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday slammed Pakistan for deviating from Ufa agreement and sabotaging the talks by raising Kashmir issue and inviting Hurriyat leaders before the NSA-level dialogue.
The Home Minister, in his remarks a day after Pakistan called off the talks, made it clear that Kashmir was not on the agenda and Pakistan’s eagerness to raise it during the meeting between National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and his Pakistani counterpart Sartaj Aziz was a well-calibrated modus operandi to side step terror and issues related to safe havens within Pakistan.
“Why didn’t Pakistan raise the Kashmir issue in Ufa in Russia when the two Prime Ministers (Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif) met last month? Why it was not decided earlier that it would be part of NSA-level talks? It was never an issue on agenda,” Singh said.
Meanwhile, Aziz said in an interview with an Indian television channel that the Ufa agreement had not been interpreted correctly. “We wanted modalities of Kashmir to be discussed. Holding talks on Kashmir will reduce tension. Ufa objective was to reduce tension, so we need to discuss Kashmir, not terror,” he told the channel.
However, Singh made it clear that “it is up to Pakistan to decide.” “The cancellation of NSA-level talks between India and Pakistan is unfortunate. India is in favour of dialogue,” Singh said.
Meanwhile, police disallowed hardliner separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani’s party Tehreek-e-Hurriyat’s (TeH) from holding a function to commemorate its Foundation Day at Geelani’s Hyderpora residence in Srinagar.
Members and leaders of TeH led by its Secretary General, Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai, tried to march to Geelani’s residence from Peerbagh.
However, they were intercepted by policemen, who were deployed in strength in the area. As Geelani’s supporters tried to move ahead, police resorted to heavy lathi-charge and fired tear gas and coloured water cannon.
The protestors retaliated by pelting stones and chanting anti-India slogans. During the clashes, some youth also waved Pakistani flags.