Kashmiri separatist leaders snub visiting MPs

Srinagar: Separatist leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Sunday snubbed national opposition leaders even as Geelani supporters booed them with anti-India slogans.

Janata Dal-United leader Sharad Yadav and Communist leaders Sitaram Yechury and D. Raja went to meet Geelani but the hardline Hurriyat leader refused to even let them in, informed sources said.

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Outside his house at Haiderpora, several of his supporters massed around, angrily shouting slogans as the MPs’ cars and security vehicles went past, shouting slogans like “Go India, go back” and “We want freedom”.

After their failed bid at Haiderpora, the three leaders returned to the Sher-e-Kashmir convention centre where they had earlier attended a meeting of all parties with Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti.

Sharad Yadav, Yechury and Raja earlier went to meet Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chief Mohd Yasin Malik at a police hub turned into a prison at Humhama, close to the Srinagar airport.

Malik met them barely for 10 minutes but more to say that there was no point in holding any talks with the MPs, informed sources told IANS.

Also detained with Malik are three key Geelani supporters.

Separately, Asaduddin Owaisi of the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen went to meet moderate Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz at Chashma Shahi where a tourist hut has been converted to a sub-jail.

Separatist leader Shabir Shah was also brought to the sub-jail.

Mirwaiz was cold to Owaisi, saying the Hurriyat had already decided not to meet the MPs who had come with Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

A disappointed Owaisi then met Shabir Shah for some 10 minutes but Shah too made it clear that he was in no mood for any dialogue with the MPs or the government.

Shah told the media that he only exchanged pleasantries with Owaisi.

“I told him this is not the way to talk to Kashmiris. You brought me from a police station to a sub-jail and expect me to talk,” Shah said.

“I have told them clearly that they must first address the situation (in the Kashmir Valley) and then engage in a dialogue with us in a proper manner,” Shah added.