Kashmiri separatists under house arrest

They were scheduled to attend a reception here on Sunday hosted by Pakistan High Commission for its National Security Advisor, Sartaj Aziz.

Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik

Upping the ante for NSA-level talks with Pakistan, the government of India on Thursday placed separatist leaders of Kashmir under house arrest. They were scheduled to attend a reception here on Sunday hosted by Pakistan High Commission for its National Security Advisor, Sartaj Aziz.

The leaders of both hardline and moderate Hurriyat Conference factions were prompt to accept Islamabad’s invitation. A similar invitation was extended by Pakistan in August 2014 when the Foreign Secretary-level talks between the two countries were around the corner. The government of India countered Pakistan’s separatist-friendly gesture by calling off the talks.

The Jammu and Kashmir police cordoned off the residences of moderate separatist Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and his hardline counterpart Syed Ali Shah Geelani, rendering them immobile. The crackdown is so harsh that Yasin Malik, the pro-Independence separatist leader who criticizes the radical demand of Kashmir’s merger with Pakistan, was detained for a few hours. Mr. Malik told The Hindu that he is out of the detention and has called a meeting to decide whether or not to attend Mr. Aziz’s reception in New Delhi.

For Ministry of External Affairs, Pakistan’s attempts to engage with Kashmiri separatists ahead of Indo-Pak engagements means the archrival is trying to exploit the events by turning them into a tri-lateral negotiations, something the government of India has always resisted.

“This is a red line we have drawn,” the Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson had said at the time of calling off the Indo-Pak talks in August 2014.

Source: TH

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#20, #2015, #august

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