Amit Shah has no olive branch for Kashmiri separatist leaders?
Despite assertions by Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik that the separatist Hurriyat leaders were ready for talks, Home Minister Amit Shah is unlikely to extend them an olive branch during his two-day visit to the state starting Wednesday, informed sources said.
Sources also said that Malik and the Union Home Ministry were not on the same page on with regard to a dialogue with the Kashmiri separatist leaders.
"Malik favours breaking the impasse over talks between the Centre and the separatists. Or at least, he favours such a possibility in the near future.
The Prime Minister's Office and the Home Ministry have an entirely different viewpoint on these talks," said top sources here.
Shah, according to sources close to him, would not do anything on the dialogue front with the separatists that does not gel with his newly created image of the 'Sardar Patel' of today's India.
"In line with his typical no-nonsense image, Shah would focus more on bringing in peace by fighting separatist violence rather than shake hands with the separatist leadership to give an impression that the present political dispensation in Delhi is not different from the previous ones that went on soft pedalling while handling the state," a senior BJP leader said.
Malik has been a strong advocate of breaking the back of militancy while keeping the option of talks with the separatists open.
This, according to sources, does not go down well with the image of the BJP government at the Centre that has a massive mandate to deal with all separatist aspirations firmly and uncompromisingly.
It is only the so-called moderate group of the Hurriyat Conference headed by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq that has shown willingness to talk. The hardline Hurriyat Conference, headed by Syed Ali Geelani, has given no such indication.
This is another stumbling block to Malik's reported attempts to bring the separatists across the dialogue table with the Centre.
"How can the Home Minister even be expected to offer talks to the separatists when India has been categoric that Pakistan must first stop supporting terror on its soil before the peace process between the two countries is re-started," argued a source close to the Home Minister.
In the nutshell, Shah's visit is likely to be a strictly security exercise aimed at securing the upcoming Amarnath Yatra and ensuring that the anti-militancy operations are carried out without any laxity. IANS