Will even talk to the devil if it is about Kashmir: Prof Bhat on ‘meeting’ interlocutor

“I will even talk to the devil if it is about Kashmir,” Hurriyat leader Prof Abdul Gani Bhat has said on his purported meeting with Government of India’s representative Dineshwar Sharma  during his second visit to Kashmir.

Bhat and another leader of the Mirwaiz Umar Farooq-led Hurriyat  Conference met Sharma on the night of November 27, according to a media report,  despite the joint resistance leadership comprising the two Hurriyat factions and the Yasin Malik-led Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front  having rejected dialogue with Sharma.

According to a report in Economic Times, the former Intelligence Bureau chief Sharma drove to the residence-cum-office of Abdul Gani Bhat in WazirBagh Srinagar on November 27 around 10:30 pm in Srinagar where another Hurriyat leader was present during the meeting, which went on for around an hour.

Bhat told Srinagar-based daily Kashmir Reader that he is a “great supporter of dialogue” and has “no reservations”, unlike the JRL.

“The JRL has reservations, and I don’t have. You see, they (the JRL) too are supporters of dialogue but they have reservations. I will even talk to devil if it is about Kashmir,” he said, adding that the involvement of Pakistan is a must for any meaningful dialogue.

Bhat ducked questions about his meeting with Sharma, saying he would not reveal anything about “any meeting”.

“I will talk at appropriate time and according to my own discretion. (Sharma) will have to pick it up that there is a persistent demand that Pakistan should be engaged. Sharma met many people in Srinagar, in south, and people have told him about it,” he told Reader.

The senior Hurriyat leader asked, “How did it (Sharma’s appointment as government representative) happen? It happened when pressure was built on New Delhi.”

“The pressure was built after people in Kashmir met former foreign minister and BJP stalwart Yashwant Sinha and his team including Kapil Kak and (Bharat) Bhushan,” he explained. “Appointment of special representative is result of that work done by the Sinha team which put across the word (to Delhi) that Kashmiris need to be engaged and dialogue must be started.”

During his two visits to Jammu and Kashmir, Sharma has met nearly 100 delegations.

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