Will not talk to sep­a­ratists, Union govt tells Apex Court

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - FRONT PAGE - Bhadra Sinha

The Supreme Court asked the Union gov­ern­ment to fa­cil­i­tate talks be­tween sep­a­ratists and Kash­miri lawyers, paving the way for the first at­tempts to defuse ten­sion in a re­gion where nearly 100 peo­ple have been killed in waves of violence since last year.

The bench, headed by chief jus­tice JS Khe­har, told the rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Jammu & Kash­mir high court bar as­so­ci­a­tion to use their in­flu­ence in the re­gion to open a di­a­logue with sep­a­ratist Hur­riyat lead­ers, the “first step to bring nor­malcy” to the Kash­mir val­ley.

Dur­ing the hear­ing, the gov­ern­ment ruled out en­gag­ing with the Hur­riyat lead­ers, the po­lit­i­cal face of the anti-in­dia move­ment in the re­gion claimed by Pak­istan as its ter­ri­tory.

The meet­ing, the bench told at­tor­ney gen­eral Mukul Ro­hatgi, should be fa­cil­i­tated only if the rules al­lowed it.

“The Cen­tre is aware of the sit­u­a­tion there and is tak­ing all the mea­sures,” Ro­hatgi told the court.

He also ob­jected strongly to the high court bar as­so­ci­a­tion’s ar­gu­ments that the NDA gov­ern­ment should hold “un­con­di­tional talks with the jailed Hur­riyat lead­ers.”

The at­tor­ney gen­eral also said it was not for the court to com­mence a di­a­logue, but for the po­lit­i­cal par­ties.

The SC did not “ap­pre­ci­ate” the AG’S ag­gres­sive stand.

AFP PHOTO

A man browses the in­ter­net on his phone on a foot­bridge in Sri­na­gar.

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