Centre wanted dialogue with separatists, but they shut doors: Rajnath


New Delhi: If separatists in Kashmir had agreed to talk to an all-party delegation that went to meet them last year, perhaps we could have found some or the other way to resolve the “stalemate” in the Valley, the union home minister Rajnath Singh said on Thursday, but regretted that the “doors of separatists were shut”.

Speaking in the Rajya Sabha, Singh dismissed the perception that the government is not willing to talk to separatists, saying it is because of such perception that things (in Kashmir) are not moving ahead.

“A perception was being created that the BJP doesn’t want to talk to Hurriyat. And then we asked people to go there (Kashmir) and have talks with them (Hurriyat). And when an all-party delegation went there to talk, the doors were shut for them,” Singh told the upper house of the parliament, while replying to a debate on proclamation of imposition of president’s rule in the state.

He said he had also assured former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti when her party was in power in J&K with an alliance with the BJP that the Centre was willing for an “unconditional talk to end the stalemate” in Kashmir.

“If they (separatists) had agreed to talk, perhaps we could have found some or the other way (to resolve the conflict). I had told the then CM Mehbooba Mufti that if they are willing to talk, our doors are also open, unconditionally,” Singh said.

In May, last year, Mehbooba had urged separatists to respond to the Centre’s appeal for talks.

Singh had then reportedly said: “If Hurriyat is ready to talk, we have no problem; we are ready to talk to anyone. Even if Pakistan comes for dialogue, we are ready for it”.

Mehbooba had then welcomed Singh’s assertion that the Centre is ready to talk to every stakeholder including Hurriyat Conference if it comes to the table. (IANS)