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Former Norway PM meets separatists in Kashmir; Omar Abdullah seeks MEA clarification

New Delhi, News Nation Bureau | Updated : 27 November 2018, 10:22 AM
Sri Sri Ravishankar’s representative was accompanying the former Norwegian PM: Mirwaiz Umar Farooq (Image: Twitter @ Mirwaiz Umar Farooq)
Sri Sri Ravishankar’s representative was accompanying the former Norwegian PM: Mirwaiz Umar Farooq (Image: Twitter @ Mirwaiz Umar Farooq)

The National Conference vice president and former chief minister Omar Abdullah on Monday asked the Centre to clear the air around former Norwegian prime minister Kjell Mangne Bondevik's visit to Kashmir during which he met the separatists. Bondevik is currently heading the Oslo Centre for Peace and Human Rights.  

"What are the Norwegians up to in Kashmir? Would either (External Affairs Minister) @SushmaSwaraj ji or (National Security Advisor Ajit) Doval ji care to put the visit of the former Norwegian PM to both sides of the divided state in the correct context or do we have to rely on rumours & conjecture?" Omar said in a tweet.

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Bondevik had on Friday met senior separatists Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq at the latter's residence in Srinagar’s Hyderpora.

“When we received a call a day before the visit, we were surprised. This is our first such meeting with a foreign dignitary in six years. New Delhi had always objected to any such visit to us and for some time now, foreign diplomats would also hesitate to meet us,’’ the Indian Express quoted Mirwaiz Umar Farooq as saying.

“It is clear that this visit was possible only after the go-ahead by New Delhi. Sri Sri Ravishankar’s representative was accompanying the former Norwegian PM,’’ Mirwaiz said.

He is currently in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and has met its President Masood Khan in Muzaffarabad.  

In a statement, Hurriyat said the Norwegian delegation had assured the separatists that "they would use their good offices to ensure that a sustained and result-oriented dialogue between India and Pakistan" for an amicable solution on Kashmir, news agency Press Trust of India reported.

Considering Kashmir a bilateral issue, India for more than five years has not allowed any foreign envoy to visit the Kashmir Valley or meet any separatist leader.

First Published: Tuesday, November 27, 2018 10:17 AM
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