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Ready to talk with recognised pol parties in Kashmir, Govt tells SC

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

The Supreme Court was on Friday told that the Centre was ready to discuss with recognised political parties the issue of escalating violence in Jammu and Kashmir, but made it clear that it will not negotiate with separatists.

The apex court said it will ask the government not to use pellet guns in Jammu and Kashmir if there was no violence, no stone throwing and students get back to classes.

Asking leaders of the J-K Bar Association to come forward with positive suggestions to diffuse the situation, a bench of Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, and Justices D Y Chandrachud and Sanjay Kishan Kaul said in such a situation they would ask the government not to use pellet guns.

'If you suggest something within the framework of Constitution, we will assure you there will be a dialogue,' the Chief Justice said.

Giving time to the Bar Association to come up with suggestions, the court said: 'You must first tell us what you will do. Then we will direct the government. If you keep throwing stones, how will it work?'

Taking exception to the affidavit filed by the Bar Association, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said they were even doubting the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India.

Apart from rubbishing the claims of the Jammu and Kashmir HC Bar Association that the Centre was not coming forward for further discussion on the issue, the Attorney General made it clear that the government would negotiate the issue only if recognised political parties partake in the discussion and not the separatists who have been responsible for harbouring tension in the region.

The bench subsequently questioned the Jammu and Kashmir HC Bar to come up with suggestions to resolve the crisis, which included stone-pelting and violent agitation on the streets of the Valley.

“If you (in view of the Kashmir issue) throw stones, close schools, how will talks happen in Kashmir?” the bench asked J&K SC Bar Association.

Replying to a petition to stop the use of pellet guns in the Valley, the bench said it can direct the Centre against the use of pellet guns but, in return, would the petitioner be able to guarantee that there will be no stone-pelting in the region?
“How can discussion take place when roads are blocked and stones are pelted?” it asked.

It said there was need for a positive start and the bar body could play an important role by coming out with a game plan and a road map for restoring normalcy in the valley.

Posting the matter for 9 May, the bench also made it clear to the Centre that the court would involve itself in the matter only if there was a view that it can play a role and there was no jurisdictional issue.

"If you feel the court has no role and if you feel we have no jurisdiction, we will close the file at this moment," the bench told the AG who objected to some of the suggestions made by the bar body including that the separatists were being ignored.