Satya Pal Malik, the governor of Jammu and Kashmir state where Indian-controlled Kashmir lies, told a news conference Saturday that he had seen a softening in approach from separatist leaders, including the influential Hurriyat Conference.
“I feel happy that the temperature in the valley has gone down as compared to what it was during my arrival in Kashmir,” he told a news conference.
“Today Hurriyat, who once closed their doors… are ready for talks with the Government of India,” Malik added.
In a statement Monday, BJP’s state spokesperson Brigadier (retired) Anil Gupta said: “Any talks with the JRL (Joint Resistance Leadership)/Hurriyat at this stage without them publicly accepting these pre-conditions will be counterproductive and a retrograde step.”
“None of the Hurriyat leaders have signalled any change in their stance and continue to promote separatism,’’ Gupta said, adding that “mere appeals for talks with the Centre is no indicator of any change in their mindset’’.
“if meaningful talks are initiated, there will be a positive response. Dialogue is the only way and that is our consistent stand,” said Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the chairman of Hurriyat, a political movement that wants independence from India, Monday.
“Hurriyat has always been in favour of talks as a means of resolution. We have not said anything new. We have always been saying this. As the most affected party with daily killings of our young, we would naturally want peaceful resolution of the issue,” Mirwaiz added.
However two days after Malik’s remarks, BJP national vice-president and J&K in-charge Avinash Rai Khanna said Monday that “our doors are open for anyone who wants to talk while keeping their faith in the Constitution of India.”
Speaking on the sidelines of an event in Srinagar, Khanna said that though there is no formal offer from the Centre; “What I’m saying, is an offer. Develop faith in the country’s Constitution and assist in maintaining the law and order situation, then we can talk.”