Srinagar: Senior BJP leader and minister in Prime Minister’s Office Dr Jitendra Singh called Hurriyat Conference a civil society group when Rajya Sabha discussed Kashmir. Is this description in contravention to PDP-BJP coalition’s Agenda for Alliance or has Jitender Singh called PDP’s bluff?
In the Agenda for Alliance, described as a ‘sacred document’ by the PDP, Hurriyat has been mentioned as one of the “political” groups with whom it sought to build a broad-based consensus on resolution of all outstanding issues of Jammu and Kashmir.
PDP general secretary Nizamuddin Bhat said party spokesman Mehbooba Beg only can speak on the issue.
Repeated attempts to contact Beg as well as government spokesman and senior PDP leader Naeem Akhtar could not fructify even as a prominent civil society member Shakeel Qalander described Hurriyat Conference as the “mainstream on ground pursuing the agenda of people.”
“Hurriyat Conference has its own identity. Hurriyat is a political amalgam and by no means a civil society group. They are the mainstream on the ground and pursues the dominant discourse on the ground, the agenda of people,” Qalander told Kashmir Reader.
Dr Jitender Singh had said that there was no problem with meeting and talking to Hurriyat in the capacity as members of the civil society as “they have never exposed themselves to the test of the ballot in the last 25 years.”
“Dr Jitender Singh’s statement has no merit owing to the fact that India’ first Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru himself said that election in Jammu and Kashmir is purely an interim arrangement for the administrative purpose. Same position is reflected in United Nations resolutions,” Qalander said.
He said that even Article 370, which gives special status to Jammu and Kashmir, was incorporated in the Indian constitution as a temporary Article to pave way for the final settlement of Kashmir.
“So far as civil societies are concerned, they act as buffer between people and contradictory leadership and wherever there is difficulty in various spheres of life in a society like social and economical issues, they have a role there. Civil society has a role as facilitators but it can never replace the political leadership,” Qalander added.
The Agenda for Alliance, according to PDP, was formed after “two months of sustained discussions” and about Hurriyat it says: “The earlier NDA government led by Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee had initiated a dialogue process with all political groups, including the Hurriyat Conference, in the spirit of Insaaniyat, Kashmiriyat aur Jamhooriyat. Following the same principles, the coalition government will facilitate and help initiate a sustained and meaningful dialogue with all internal stakeholders, which will include all political groups irrespective of their ideological views and predilections. This dialogue will seek to build a broad based consensus on resolution of all outstanding issues of J&K.”