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PC believes in open dialogues, not clandestine meetings: Imran Reza Ansari

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Srinagar: J&K Peoples Conference General Secretary, Imran Reza Ansari, today said that debate and discussion form the cornerstone of any democracy and emphasized that the JKPC leadership believes in engaging with every shade of political opinion in public, not through clandestine meetings but through an open and meaningful dialogue.

Imran said that JKPC has always strongly advocated a dialogue with the Indian masses – of all identities and ideologies. “Chairman Sajad Lone’s participation at the event was not the only occasion for initiating a dialogue with the people of India and most importantly correcting the misconceptions about Kashmir and its people. The party will proactively seek out and participate in any such event which gives our leadership a chance to represent the people of Kashmir and give articulation to their suffering. Spreading canards about such an activity is lamentable and reprehensible. The party will in future attend any event hosted by either the Left or Right. It is through these platforms that we have to convince the people of India on the need for a relook in Kashmir policy.”

Asserting that debate and discussion form the cornerstone of any democracy, Imran said that Kashmiri leaders met the Prime Minister and the home minister at the all-party meet even though they were the architects of August 5. “At the Young Thinkers Meet, Chairman Sajad Lone repeated the address that he made at the All-Party Meet. The contents of Mr. Lone’s speech at the Young Thinker Meet were no different from the views expressed at the All-Party Meeting in Delhi.”

Understanding that August 5 played out in Parliament, not in the streets of Kashmir, Imran said that educating the people of India about Jammu & Kashmir is a mission for the party. “Correcting the false narrative surrounding J&K is the primary goal of our party.  We believe the people of Kashmir are victims of misinformation and disinformation. It is imperative that Kashmiri leaders engage the leadership and the masses in the rest of the country to bust the myths and myth-making on Kashmir.”

Imran emphasized that addressing a gathering of right-leaning individuals and expressing unvarnished truths is an act of courage that our leaders will frequently indulge in. “We will strive to get back what has been taken away from us. And for that we have to reach out to people who have taken it away.  JKPC wants to turn a leaf in the politics of Kashmir. We do not want to indulge in meaningless activity of making political allegations and counter-allegations. We believe that attacking each other, slandering each other is a luxury that we the leadership in Kashmir cannot afford. Nonetheless, if one of the political parties of J&K resorts to slander and vilification, directly or indirectly, JKPC will have no choice but to respond in equal measure.”

Imran maintained that there are no holy cows in politics more so in the conflict-ridden Kashmir region. “While we do not want to cast aspersions on private engagements which some leaders prefer but given the moralistic stance taken, we could ask them to explain what transpired in the secretive meeting that they held with BJP and RSS leaders? We have the dates and details of venues of meetings that some leaders held with BJP and RSS functionaries.  We have credible information that the leaders gifted shawls and saffron to RSS activists at these secretive meetings. We are hoping against hope that these leaders meet the RSS and BJP leaders to articulate the pain of the Kashmiri people. Incidentally, the cousin of the Chief Troll of a particular party tops the list of people who have gifted shawls and held long discussions with RSS and BJP leaders.”

Imran further emphasized that JKPC leadership believes in engaging with every shade of political opinion in public, not through clandestine meetings but through an open and meaningful dialogue. “We want to put across our point of view to all political parties in India. We don’t think there is any need for the trolls of a particular party to run like headless chicken with moral sermons of dos and don’ts. We will counter attempts by any party or person to stigmatize engagement. And we invite them to formally take a stand on engagement. Do they believe that engagement is needed or do they believe that Kashmiri leadership should shun engagement?”, he concluded.

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