Srinagar, Oct 26: A five-member civil society delegation led by senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha on Tuesday met hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani in the wake of unrest in the valley.
Apart from Sinha, other members of the delegation were Wajahat Habibullah, the former chairman of National Commission for Minorities, Kapil Kak, former Air Vice-Marshal, journalist Bharat Bhushan and Sushoba Barve of Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation.
It was said that the aim of the meeting was to break the three-month impasse in Kashmir triggered by the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani in July.
"We are few people of goodwill who have come here on the basis of humanity. The aim is to share the pain and sufferings of the people. If we can do that, we will consider ourselves as fortunate," Sinha said.
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Sinha discussing issues with Geelani
A five-member delegation meeting with Chairman of Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani at his residence in Srinagar.
Geelani demanded government should release all separatist leaders and others arrested during an ongoing unrest.
The Geelani had on September 4 shut the door on Marxist leader Sitaram Yechury and three other non-BJP MPs who were part of an all-party delegation on a visit to Kashmir.
BJP leader addressing media after meeting
Former Union minister and Senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha addresses the media after meeting with the Chairman of Hurriyat Conference.
Sinha said that he had come for talks and the talks happened in a good manner.
Protest against delegation
Protesters shouting slogans against the high level delegation meeting.
The fresh bid to break ice between separatist groups and the government comes after 108 days of unrest and shutdown that have hit normal life in the Kashmir Valley since Burhan Wani's killing.
At least 92 persons were killed and over 12,000 injured in clashes between protesters and security forces.
Wajahat Habibullah addresses the media
Former Chief Information Commissioner of India, Wajahat Habibullah addresses the media after a meeting. Habibullah served in Kashmir during the peak years of militancy.
"Very nice and friendly discussion. This is not track-2 diplomacy because we are not representing anybody. We are here on our own initiative", Habibullah said.
BJP distanced itself from the meeting
Yashwant Sinha leaves after meeting with the Chairman of Hurriyat Conference, Syed Ali Shah Geelani outside his Residence in Srinagar.
BJP distanced itself from the initiative as did the central government, saying it was done at a personal level.
Kapil Kak leaving the place after meeting
Members of a high level delegation Ex Air Vice Marshal Kapil Kak and journalist Bharta Bhushan leave after meeting with Geelani.
Habibullah, Kak and Bharve from the Sinha-led team have long Kashmir connections. Kak, a Kashmiri Pandit, is associated with a charity, Healing Kashmir.