Editorial: Prof. Bhat’s quest

Srinagar: Did former Hurriyat Chairman and head of Muslim Conference, Professor Abdul Gani Bath meet the Government of India’s interlocutor for Kashmir Dineshwar Sharma? This question has the been at the center of political conversations in Kashmir for last few days. After the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), had categorically rejected any possibilities of engagement with Sharma, news reports suggesting that Professor Bhat had an hour long meeting with the interlocutor has raised many eyebrows and also fueled speculations in the valley.

What has added to intrigue is the position that professor bath has taken on the matter. Three days after the news reports his meeting with Sharma, he is still shying away from making an unequivocal statement on whether the meeting happened or not.

Professor Bhat is the head of Muslim Conference, a constituent of the moderate faction of Hurriyat Conference lead by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. It is in this capacity that Bhat has been claiming to represent the ‘sentiment’ of Kashmir. However, his conspicuous silence over the reports of his meeting with Dineshwar Sharma doesn’t do well to his claims of representative character.

He is answerable to the public at large for what he does in capacity of a ‘representative’ and hence must come clean and explain his position of this issue. Public must know what happened and what did not on this issue of utmost importance.

Professor Bhat has already made it clear that his party is always for dialogue and discussion and that he is ready to meet Dineshwar Sharma and put across his point of view on the issue of Kashmir, his shying away from confirming or denying his meeting with Sharma is that last thing desired.

The JRL in their joint statement has categorically said a no to any engagement with Sharma terming it wastage of time and appointment of the interlocutor as time tested ‘time buying tactic’ by New Delhi. It is important to mention that the constituents of Hurriyat (M) have largely maintained a distance from the conglomerate post the three top leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik come together to form what has come to be known as JRL.

In face of such a stance by joint separatist leadership, air must be cleared around the reports of Bhat-Sharma meet.

Professor Bhat owes this much to Kashmir and its people.



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