Srinagar: Two senior Hurriyat leaders, Prof Abdul Gani Bhat and another Hurriyat (M) leader, had met the government of India’s special representative, Dineshwar Sharma, during his second visit to Kashmir.
The meeting comes after the joint resistance leadership, comprising the Hurriyat Conferences and the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), rejected dialogue with Sharma.
Sharma drove to Bhat’s Srinagar residence on the night of November 27 where Bhat along with the Hurriyat leader were waiting for him, a source said.
Bhat told Kashmir Reader that he is a “great supporter of dialogue” and has “no reservations”, unlike the JRL.
“The JRL has reservations, and I don’t have. You see, they (the JRL) too are supporters of dialogue but they have reservations. I will even talk to devil if it is about Kashmir,” he said, adding that the involvement of Pakistan is a must for any meaningful dialogue.
Bhat leads his faction of the Muslim Conference and holds an influential position in the Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.
He, however, ducked questions about his meeting with Sharma, saying he would not reveal anything about “any meeting”. “I will talk at appropriate time and according to my own discretion. (Sharma) will have to pick it up that there is a persistent demand that Pakistan should be engaged. Sharma met many people in Srinagar, in south, and people have told him about it,” he added.
The senior Hurriyat leader himself asked, “How did it (Sharma’s appointment as government representative) happen? It happened when pressure was built on New Delhi.”
“The pressure was built after people in Kashmir met former foreign minister and BJP stalwart Yashwant Sinha and his team including Kapil Kak and (Bharat) Bhushan,” he explained. “Appointment of special representative is result of that work done by the Sinha team which put across the word (to Delhi) that Kashmiris need to be engaged and dialogue must be started.”
During his two visits to Jammu and Kashmir, Sharma has met nearly 100 delegations.