In a first, BJP says separatists stakeholders to Kashmir issue


Srinagar, Senior BJP leader and deputy chief minister Nirmal Singh on Saturday said that separatists were stakeholders to the Kashmir issue.

“Definitely,” he said when asked whether the BJP considers Hurriyat leaders as stakeholders to the Kashmir issue.Singh’s statement marks the Bharatiya Janata Party’s departure from its earlier stance that opposed any engagement with the separatists.

“You should remember that when Home Minister (Rajnath Singh) led a parliamentary delegation (to Kashmir last year), Mehbooba Ji wrote to them (the Hurriyat leaders) to come forward for talks. Had there been such an issue that there will be no talks with the Hurriyat, then such a letter wouldn’t have gone to them,” Singh told reporters on the sidelines of BJP’s state office bearers’ meeting here.

His comments come days after New Delhi, in a sudden shift of its stand, announced talks with all stakeholders in Jammu and Kashmir and appointed former Intelligence Bureau chief Dineshwar Sharma as its interlocutor for a “sustained dialogue” in the state.