Jammu and Kashmir Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu has lashed out at pro-Pakistan separatist Syed Ali Shah Geelani, saying he has “violated the tenets of Kashmiri culture” by slamming his doors in the face of visiting lawmakers from Delhi who tried to meet him on Sunday.
Left leaders Sitaram Yechury and D Raja and Sharad Yadav of the Janata Dal United, members of an all-party delegation visiting Kashmir, were turned away from the gate of Mr Geelani’s Hyderpora residence in Srinagar, while his supporters raised anti-India slogans.
Mr Drabu, a senior leader of the ruling People’s Democratic Party and author of its alliance agreement with the BJP, told NDTV that the behaviour of Mr Geelani, 86, was “unacceptable”. Kashmiris stand for social graces and Mr Geelani showed none, he said.
“I am not Kashmiri because of Article 370. I am Kashmiri because of my values. Geelani sullied Kashmiriyat,” Mr Drabu said in the most stringent attack yet by the PDP on the Hurriyat Conference.
Mr Geelani and other separatists, members of the Hurriyat Conference, have rejected an invitation from Mehbooba Mufti to join talks with the team of Parliamentarians from Delhi, who are on a two-day visit in search of a solution to the crisis in Kashmir, torn by violent protests and clashes that have left over 70 people dead and more than 10,000 injured in the last two months.
It was made clear that Ms Mufti’s invitation was sent in her capacity as PDP chief and not Chief Minister of Jammu and KAshmir; there is no offer to the separatists from the Centre or state government.
Mr Yechury and some other opposition leaders had attempted on Sunday to meet the separatists, but were turned away by each. They finally managed to have a conversation with Mirwaiz Umar Farooq at the Chashm-e-Shahi guest house, where he has been detained, and reported that the Hurriyat Conference has taken a decision “not to talk of anything tangible”.
“We are hopeful that something positive will happen. Our signal to the people of Kashmir is that we have come here to share their pain. We have gone out of our way to meet the Hurriyat leaders,” Mr Yechury said on Sunday evening.
The all-party delegation’s visit ends today.
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