As Kashmir reels under the heavy snowfall and plummeting temperatures, the guns continue to rage, staining the snow. Civilians continue to protest in the encounter sites and hold funeral prayers braving the cold and pellets.
While Kashmiri youths continue to voice their desire for a “controversial” referendum, the central government seems to have halted all dialogue as it readies for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
Kashmir is in a deadlock. There is no engagement. Two days ago, the Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan harped the Kashmir issue in Turkey. But India has ignored his statements.
The Indian leadership also brushed off Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s statement that Kashmir was the bone of contention between Pakistan and India. He said the Indian armed forces had broken all records of ‘barbarity and atrocities’ on innocent Kashmiris in ‘India-controlled-Kashmir’.
Meanwhile, the Home Minister Rajnath Singh has lashed out at the separatists – Hurriyat Conference for not being receptive to the Centre’s dialogue initiatives. On Thursday, Singh told the Rajya Sabha, “We asked all-party delegation to go and talk to the Hurriyat leaders. When the delegation went, they closed their doors.”
But according to various media reports, the Home Minister had distanced himself from the delegation’s decision to visit the separatist leaders. He had also termed the decision as ‘impromptu’ and ‘personal’.
However, the Hurriyat has denied the Centre’s claims for dialogue initiatives. Hurriyat(M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq while addressing an occasion at the Srinagar Jamia Masjid on Friday said there was never any offer of unconditional talks at any point by the Government of India. “On the contrary, all the efforts by the government have been towards a military solution with a view to integrate Kashmir and even to do away with its special status.”
The special status refers to Article 35A that empowers the state assembly of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) to define the state’s permanent residents and their rights. It also bars people from other states or parts of India from acquiring any immovable property in J&K. The hearing for this is in the Supreme Court scheduled for January 19.
With the state now under President’s Rule and the country headed for elections, Kashmir has once again taken the back seat.
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