Narada News Exclusive: Why did Yashwant & Co meet Geelani & Co?
“We are a few people, who I must call people of goodwill. We have come here on humanitarian grounds and to share the pain and sufferings of the people. We will consider ourselves lucky if we can share the pain of the people here and in this connection we have come here”. This is what Yashwant Sinha, leader of the delegation that visited Kashmir Valley for three days (Oct 25-27), said about the visit.
He further said, “We will call it a ‘goodwill delegation’.” This observation of Sinha came while talking to the media immediately after he and other members of this delegation held a 90-minute ‘cordial’ meeting with Syed Ali Shah Geelani at his well-fortified Hyderpora residence. The delegation drove straight from Srinagar airport to Geelani’s mansion and the host served them with traditional Kashmiri kehwa.
Sinha, they say, was lucky to gain a welcome entry to Geelani’s house, unlike poor Sita Ram Yechury and others, all hon’ble Members of Parliament , who a month and a half ago, had not been allowed entry into the Geelani Mansion, even when they waited for an entry at his main gate for quite some time. It is obvious that a lot of homework had been done this time, and this meeting was not so spontaneous as it is made out to be.
Yashwant Sinha further clarified the same day that they had not been invited by the separatists to hold talks with them, but it was their own initiative to reach out to them, dialogue with separatists, he added, will be held at a “quite appropriate time”.
Well, so far so good, but there is something more that I want to share with the readers. On Monday, Oct 24, It was a routine call from a friend in the Valley, nothing so great about it as friends from there keep calling every day, but what he conveyed that day made some sense. Remember he too is one of the vast but silent majority of Kashmiri Muslims who want this turmoil to end just now. He was glad and happy to tell me that the OLD MAN (read Geelani) was on his last legs, his bluff had almost been called and he was forced to announce such relaxations in his HARTAL calendar that the situation had started looking near normal.
Geelani, he said, was convinced that his writ does not run any longer and that is why he addressed a communication to various influential groups viz., traders, Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries, shopkeepers sssociations et al, seeking their suggestions on how to carry on with the agitation.
My friend was worried that when the OLD MAN was virtually ready to surrender, an important section of the ruling elite was making efforts not only to bail him out, but inject life back into him. Why else, he questioned, was the Mirwaiz being shifted back to his Mirwaiz mansion in Nageen from Chashma Shahi sub-jail? He wanted me to find out from Delhi if Amitabh Mattoo, Political Advisor to the J&K Chief Minister, was up to something, and that was exactly 24 hours before the goodwill delegation landed in Srinagar.
He ended his call saying he smelt something fishy. Since Kashmiris, by and large, are politically far more mature than the rest of common Indians, I took his call as mere kite-flying, little knowing how prophetic my friend would prove within less than 24 hours.
So Geelani has been resurrected yet again. But why? No amount of denials by the ruling BJP at the Centre can convince anybody that this ‘goodwill delegation’ did not have the blessings of the Central government. All Kashmiris are convinced that in Kashmir nothing moves without the blessings of MARKAZ (Centre). Besides being true for all mainstream political parties, it is ironically true about separatists too. The day the common Kashmiri is convinced that MARKAZ cares two hoots about separatist leaders, these ‘leaders’ will run for their lives. One reason why the Yechury delegation could not meet the Hurriyat supremo was that they were all from the opposition and why should Geelani waste his time talking to someone with whom he cannot bargain.
The cat was out of the bag next day itself when Amitabh Mattoo, in a chat with ‘Kashmir expert’ Barkha Dutt, spilled the beans.
“Posturing,” he said, when asked pointedly why the BJP had distanced itself from this ‘goodwill’ exercise.
Wajahat Habibullah, who probably had been assigned this task and was an important member of this ‘goodwill delegation’, told Karan Thapar that he, in fact, had called the Home Minister(y) before boarding the plane for Srinagar.
The green signal was there but is it going to lead us anywhere, I have my doubts. “HUM PAKISTANI HAIN, PAKISTAN HAMARA HAI” is the battle cry and agenda of Geelani, so where would the goodwill delegation draw a line?