Nirmal Singh not against banning Separatists
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh are not on the same page over dealing with separatist groups, including the Hurriyat Conference.
The Chief Minister had recently stated that the state government would consider any request for security from separatist leaders if they approached it following a threat by former Hizbul Mujahideen commander Zakir Mussa. In contrast, the Deputy Chief Minister, who belongs to the BJP, is not against banning the Hurriyat Conference.
“The Centre as well as the state will take a call on banning the Hurriyat Conference and separatist groups. We will look into all aspects in this direction,” Nirmal said in Srinagar today when his reaction was sought by a TV channel on the demand for declaring separatist groups as “outlaws”. Some separatist leaders had admitted to accepting money to spread trouble in the Valley during a sting operation conducted by the channel.
The Deputy Chief Minister minced no words in attacking the separatist groups. “The government will take appropriate action against those who are creating trouble in the Valley,” he said.
The Deputy Chief Minister admitted that it had been established that the Hurriyat Conference and some other groups were fomenting trouble in the Valley. It was on record that Pakistan was creating trouble in the Valley with the help of some locals by funding terrorism and stone-throwers through hawala, he said.
The Deputy Chief Minister’s stand against the Hurriyat Conference brings to the fore serious differences between the PDP and the BJP over dealing with separatist groups. Both parties, with diametrically opposite ideologies, are speaking in conflicting voices on vital issues.
On May 13, Chief Minister had stated that her government would consider any request for security from separatist leaders if they approached the authorities following a threat by militant commander Zakir Mussa. Mussa, in a video message last Friday, had threatened to kill separatist leaders for terming Kashmir a political issue instead of an Islamic struggle meant to enforce ‘Sharia’ (Islamic law) in the state.
Chief Minister and other PDP leaders have repeatedly termed Hurriyat leaders as stakeholders in the Kashmir problem and advocated that all separatist leaders should be engaged in the dialogue process to restore normalcy in the Valley.