The Hurriyat leaders, especially Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, have shown interest in the olive branch being offered by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Mirwaiz Farooq has said that the issue would be discussed in a forum of the joint separatist leadership, adding that they would not make any hurried announcement.

According to latest reports, the development comes after the Centre’s interlocutor to Kashmir, Dineshwar Sharma was able to establish contact with the separatist leadership in Kashmir. Apparently, Sharma is waiting for more confidence building measures from New Delhi for holding talks with the separatists. Sharma reportedly wants an extension of the Ramzan ceasefire and the release of political prisoners and the youths.

Addressing a huge gathering on Friday at the Jamia Masjid in Srinagar, Mirwaiz said that they would welcome the serious steps taken by the Central government to address the Kashmir issue and that they are for peace and dialogue. He claimed that it was the resistance offered by the youths that forced New Delhi to surrender its earlier policy of killing and bulldozing sentiments in Kashmir.

Incidentally, this was for the first time that the Hurriyat leadership did not announce any hartal during the two-day visit of Rajnath Singh in the valley. Mirwaiz welcomed Rajnath Singh’s remarks in Srinagar expressing concern for the future of the Kashmiri youth. He said, “If New Delhi really cares for our children and the youth, and it is a real change of policy, then we welcome this human gesture.” JKLF chairman Yasin Malik said that the only way to ensure peace in Kashmir was to accept the political reality and to resolve the issue without delay. Reports said that after the festival of Eid, there are good chances that the Central government would not only extend the ceasefire but will also take more confidence building measures to prepare the ground for talks.

 

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