Srinagar: A five member delegation led by Congressman Mani Shankar Aiyar called on Hurriyat Conference (M) chairperson, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, on Thursday morning at his Nigeen residence.
Aiyar, a former diplomat, is in valley for some days now and is also scheduled to meet Hurriyat patriarch Syed Ali Geelani later in the day at latter’s Hyderpora residence.
An office bearer of Hurriyat Conference (M) told the FreePressKashmir that the delegation reached Mirwaiz’s residence around 10:30 am. “The meeting is going,” he said.
Aiyar is accompanied by OP Shah, Kapil Kak and two others. “The current political situation in Kashmir is under discussion,” he said without giving more details.
Sources in Mirwaiz Manzil Nigeen revealed that the guests – who claim that they are holding ‘dialogue’ on their own – are being served Kehwa and Shirmal.
It is second visit by any Indian politician and civil society members – who are not in the government – since 2016 public uprising. Last time, a similar delegation was led by right wing BJP leader Yashwant Sinha who flew to Srinagar twice and met Geelani, Mirwaiz and other people before submitting “an independent” report of Narendra Modi led government of India.
However, Sinha, told The Indian Express that he was yet to receive appointment confirmation with Prime Minister Modi to discuss his team’s Kashmir visits with him.
Meanwhile, J&K Liberation Front chief, Muhammad Yasin Malik, has refused to give audience to “such people”. “No,” replied a spokesperson of JKLF when asked whether Malik was meeting Aiyar led delegation. “We do not meet such people.”
The spokesperson referred to earlier visit of Sinha as well. “We have decided not to meet and we did not meet (the Sinha led delegation) in past as well,” he added.
At Hyderpora, the headquarter of All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) led by Syed Ali Geelani is “abuzz” with preparations to host the Aiyar led delegation.
“All office bearers have reached the office,” a Hurriyat Conference activist said referring to side-talks about the scheduled meeting.
“Breaking ice”, Sinha had succeeded to meet and hold talks with Geelani and Mirwaiz at the peak of 2016 uprising. The Hurriyat Conference leadership had shut its doors on India’s left wing politicians including Sitaram Yechury and D Raja who were part of All Party Delegation led by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh which came to Srinagar in last September.
Past such meetings did not yield results, responded Hurriyat Conference leaders when asked why Yechury and Raja were not given audience.
At a round table conference in Srinagar, Aiyar vouched for dialogue and slammed the remarks of BJP chief Amit Shah that “problem in Kashmir was restricted to three districts only”.
Referring to Bristish Raj over India, Aiyar said that one of the viceroys of Britain would also make such statements about Indian struggle “but then we achieved freedom”.