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Home > News > PTI

Hold talks with Hurriyat factions, Hizb: Mufti

November 06, 2003 11:33 IST
Last Updated: November 06, 2003 12:30 IST

The Centre should hold talks with both factions of the All Party Hurriyat Conference and militant groups like Hizbul Mujahideen in its bid to resolve the Kashmir issue, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed has said.

"You have to talk to those who don't believe in accession. I want to be specific. You have to talk to them. You have to encourage them," he said in an interview to Karan Thapar for BBC programme 'Hardtalk India' to be telecast on Friday.

The chief minister made it clear that he was talking about the breakaway faction of Hurriyat led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani as well as militant groups like the Hizbul Mujahideen.

"They (the Centre) have been talking in Mizoram to militant organisations... I don't think that option should be closed (in Kashmir)," Sayeed said.

Referring to the proposed talks between Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani and APHC chairman Maulana Abbas Ansari, he said it should be 'unconditional'.

"You can't put cart before horse. You can't decide before talking," he said.

Asked whether subjects outside the constitution could be taken up at the talks, Sayeed said, "That's to be discussed between the two..."

He said Hurriyat have their own agenda. "When they go to talk, they will talk. They will have their own terms to talk naturally."

The chief minister also favoured soft border between the two parts of Jammu and Kashmir and suggested that concepts such as shared sovereignty and free trade between them, put forward by former Pakistan prime minister Benazir Bhutto, were 'the only way out'.

Asked about Bhutto's suggestion of shared sovereignty and free trade as a way forward, Sayeed said these were 'grey areas' which needed to be discussed and debated. "This is a time consuming process. This is a difficult matter and it can't be done at one go. It will be a gradual process."

"This is the only hope. This is the only way out," he said.

To a question on his Peoples Democratic Party's views on Centre-state relations, Sayeed said, "I have some brilliant ideas. I see a brighter tomorrow for the people of Jammu and

Kashmir... I will talk when I am invited to talk. I will talk at the proper time... I have made up my mind. I have some things to talk, but not now."

Sayeed denied allegations about custodial killings or human rights abuse saying the security forces in the state had 'behaved and paid full attention to the state government's policies'.

The chief minister said, "As far as human rights violations, as far as custodial deaths, they are the exception to the general rule. These are a minimum. If there have been any instances we have taken action."

"...the fundamental point is that there is a sense of confidence, sense of security among people. Why is it? Because security forces have behaved. They have given full attention to the comprehensive policy of the government," he said.

When pointed out that his daughter and PDP President Mehbooba Mufti had claimed that 'state terrorism' was continuing, Sayeed disagreed. "I don't see that. I don't agree with that position. Security forces have behaved. They have been made accountable."

The chief minister appealed to the militants to leave their guns saying, "I want to tell those who have guns in their hands that they have no cause to fight..."

On the return of Kashmiri pandits, he said it was his pledge to bring them back as 'what is Kashmiriyat, if we don't bring them back'.

Listing achievements of his government, which completed one year on November 2, Sayeed said the most important was the sense of security among the people and steps to improve power supply in cities and villages.

Besides, he said, "We had an administration that was quite dormant and we made it accountable, we made it dynamic.... we tried to give succour, help and jobs to the victims of militancy..."

More reports from Jammu and Kashmir
Read about: The Road to Peace | Kargil Crisis

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