‘Talks with whom?’ Supreme Court  says no Kashmir dialogue unless ‘violence stops’

The Supreme Court on Monday said that no meaningful discussion is possible in Jammu and Kashmir unless violence stops. A bench of Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud said, “Talks with whom? No talk can take place unless the violence stops.” The apex court was hearing the appeal by the Bar Association Executive Member against the High Court’s order.

Earlier, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court had refused to ban pellet guns and observed that use of force by security agencies is “inevitable” while dealing with protesters who take to violence. The High Court had rejected the bar body’s plea seeking a ban on use of pellet guns on the ground that the Centre had already set up a Committee of Experts through its memorandum of July 26, 2016 for exploring alternatives to pellet guns.

The Supreme Court said that it has two options to decide the case. It said that either the parties should sit together and find a solution, or the court court decides the case. It also said that the Bar should help in finding a solution and fixed the plea for final hearing on October 4.

During the hearing, Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, appearing for the Centre, referred to the plea of the Bar body in the High Court and alleged that they had even termed as “mysterious” the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India. He said, “They (Bar) are questioning the accession of Jammu and Kashmir with India. They term it mysterious. The Government of India is willing to consider the suggestions.”

The law officer said that the standard operating procedures (SOP) cannot be given as it was confidential. Earlier, the government had led out dialogue with the separatists in the state. It has said that the talks to restore normalcy was possible only with the legally recognised stakeholders.

The Bar body at Srinagar has been asked to come up with suggestions to handle the problem, including stone pelting and violent street protests in Kashmir. “The Chief Minister is with the Prime Minister, what further dialogue is required? The Prime Minister has invited the Chief Minister. She (Mehbooba Mufti) is their CM,” the then Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi had said.

The Bar association is demanding that there should be withdrawal of security forces, unilateral declaration of cease-fire, revocation of AFSPA and stoppage of using pellet guns. It also blamed the governments for not taking forward the initiatives undertaken by Atal Bihari Vajpayee to resolve the Kashmir issues.

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