The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday questioned Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar if he was adding to the agenda of separatism by meeting with separatist leaders Shabir Shah and Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.
"They (separatists) stand with the terrorist, they give a romantic name of militants but they are terrorists against humanity. So these people, when they have such an agenda, if they are willing to change it, speak in favour of the constitution.then one would have understood that Mr. Mani Shankar Aiyar has played some part. Because unless the statement comes and if they stick to their own stand, then the question will arise that is Mr. Mani Shankar Aiyar adding to their agenda of separatism, and if that is the case then what is the Congress party's stand?" BJP leader Nalin Kohli told ANI.
Kohli further said if an Indian citizen wants to meet someone, then it is up to them to think about the agenda of the meeting.
"But more important than who Mr. Mani Shankar Aiyar is meeting, what is he going to discuss is more important thing. Because as far as the so called separatist leaders are there, the Hurriyat conference leaders they have so far not condemned the stone pelting, not condemned that the youth are being instigated in this direction, not condemned that the development are suffering, employment is suffering," he added.
Meanwhile, the Congress distanced itself from Aiyar's meeting with Hurriyat leaders, saying it never recognised those who are "unelectable and unrepresentative".
In an effort to resume dialogue with the stakeholders in Kashmir, five-member delegation led by Aiyar yesterday called on moderate Hurriyat chief Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and discussed ways to calm down the protestors.
The delegation discussed the prevailing situation in the Valley and the necessary steps to be initiated for bringing peace in Kashmir, which has been marred by violent protests since July 2016.
Considering the situation very critical where students and youth have joined the protests, Aiyar insisted that the Central Government should hold dialogue with all the stakeholders in Kashmir as it would bring enduring solutions by bringing peace in the Valley as well as reduce tensions between India and Pakistan.
The five member delegation that includes O.P. Shah, Air Vice Marshal (retd.) Kapil Kak and Vinod Sharma, are likely to meet hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani.
Aiyar also showed his willingness to meet the pro-independence JKLF chief Yasin Malik, but he refused to meet the delegation.
The meetings with Hurriyat leaders assume significance after the group insisted that the Central Government should hold talks with Pakistan including separatists for resolution of the Kashmir issue.
It is pertinent to mention that a five-member delegation led by former external affairs minister and senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha met Kashmiri hardliner Geelani in 2016 to break the ice between the centre and the Hurriyat leadership. But Geelani demanded release of all youth and separatist leaders as a pre-condition for talks.
The delegation stressed that Central Government must interact with Kashmiri people and assuage the feelings of the protesters to find a solution for the progress and development of the state.