SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir governor Satya Pal Malik on Saturday talked about an “encouraging sign” with reference to the situation on ground. He said Hurriyat Conference leaders are ready for talks with Centre.

“I am very happy; the mercury (violence) has dropped significantly since the day I took over,” Malik said in his speech in an event where DD launched its free distribution of Dish Set Top Boxes among identified beneficiaries. “You must have seen that the Hurriyat, which once shut the door on Ram Vilas Paswan when he came knocking, are now ready for talks. This is an encouraging sign.”

Malik said situation is changing. “There is a change in everything,” he insisted. “Stone-throwing after Friday prayers has almost stopped.”

Governor lauded Mirwaiz for talking about the drug menace in Kashmir. “I am happy that yesterday (Friday) Mirwaiz Molvi Umar Farooq spoke about drugs. Drugs are a very big menace here and is spreading fast among the children,” Malik said.

Malik was actually responding to Mirwaiz’s assertions in an interview that the editor of Jammu based Excelsior Neeraj Rohmetra conducted.

Asserting that Prime Minister has a “massive mandate” and it was “responsibility of the Central Government to take forward the political process in the State and initiate all possible measures to put an end to the cycle of violence in the State”.

“When told pointedly that the success of any such dialogue process would demand a positive response from his Hurriyat leadership,” the newspaper reported, “he said, “we will never shirk from our responsibility to take the political process forward and if Centre show sincerity and will respond in appropriate manner”. The newspaper quoted Mirwaiz saying: “Any initiative aimed to take the State out of turmoil would be welcome by all sections of society in Kashmir”.

“New Delhi needs to initiate dialogue with the alienated section of Kashmiri society and simultaneously open channels with Pakistan,” Mirwaiz told the newspaper. “Similar exercise was done during the Vajpayee era, when despite several obstacles, the process was taken forward at different levels”.

“Dialogue can’t be restricted to statements, where one country keeping claiming Kashmir in its jugular vein and other sticks to the rhetoric of it being an integral part. We have to find a middle path for the welfare of people of Kashmir and violence has no place in any civilised society”, Mirwaiz has said in the interview.

The newspaper reported: “When asked that in view of existing chill between India-Pakistan relations are they ready for talks process with New Delhi, he said the Hurriyat leadership is ready to accept the talks offer first and later the neighbouring country can be involved.”

Mirwaiz added: “We are willing to offer any help, let the process begin.”

The separatist leader told the newspaper that Hurriyat leadership “always existed as a buffer between the Government and the alienated section of society of Kashmir” and “played that role despite the risks involved”.

“This was quite evident the way we took the dialogue process forward with the Vajpayee led Government and also conveyed to Pakistani leadership the importance of the same”, Mirwaiz was quoted saying.

Mirwaiz has revealed that the Hurruiyat leaders visited Pakistan and talked with Musharaf “with the consent of Government of India”.  His 4-point formula was also “supported by the Hurriyat, by me and others”.


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