India rules out talks with pro-independence Kashmiris

Attorney general tells Supreme Court India will only talk to recognized political parties - ruling out independence leaders

India rules out talks with pro-independence Kashmiris

World Bulletin / News Desk

 The Indian government on Friday told the country’s Supreme Court in New Delhi they were not open to talks with Kashmir’s resistance leadership.

Mukul Rohatgi, India’s attorney general, told the country’s highest court the government was only open to talking to recognized political parties -- meaning those backed by New Delhi and which do not seek independence from Indian rule.

The Indian government’s statement comes days after the top official in the disputed Jammu and Kashmir region, Mehbooba Mufti, met India’s prime minister in New Delhi.

Mufti, after the meeting, told the media the Indian premier was in support of holding talks.

“The prime minister intends to hold talks [on Kashmir] after the situation becomes normal," she said.

“However, an atmosphere needs to be created for a dialogue. Talks can’t happen amid stone pelting and the firing of bullets. Talks are the only option," she added.

When talks and dialogue are mentioned, it refers to the Indian government approaching pro-independence leadership which enjoys overwhelming popular support in the region and who call for strikes and protest marches. 

Friday’s statement by Rohatgi seems to have made clear the Indian government’s refusal not to hold any dialogue.

Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.

Since they were partitioned in 1947, India and Pakistan have fought three wars -- in 1948, 1965, and 1971 -- two of them over Kashmir.

Kashmiri resistance groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.

More than 70,000 people have reportedly been killed in the conflict since 1989. India maintains more than half a million troops in the disputed region.

 
Last Mod: 28 Nisan 2017, 20:48
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