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Talks only with PM: Hurriyat
Onkar Singh in New Delhi | June 14, 2004 18:14 IST
All Parties Hurriyat Conference Chairman Moulvi Abbas Ansari says the Hurriyat will only hold talks with Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, and no one else.
Hurriyat leaders held talks with former deputy prime minister L K Advani earlier this year. They also had an informal encounter with then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
"If the new government is serious about resolving the Kashmir problem, then Prime Minister Dr Singh should himself hold talks with us. Because when the previous government was there, we were talking to Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Advani. It is not just a question of holding talks with someone. We want to hold talks at a particular level. Advani was talking to us not in his capacity as home minister of India, but as deputy prime minister in the Vajpayee government," Ansari told rediff.com
Asked if they had been taken into confidence by Patil before the home minister declared he would deal with the Hurriyat, Ansari said there was no communication from the home ministry.
"We came to know about the talks only through the media. We will meet next Monday to decide whether or not to hold talks with the new government. The talks between the Hurriyat and government received a setback with the defeat of the Vajpayee government," he said.
Ansari welcomed Patil's statement that he would talk to a cross-section of Kashmiri groups, saying, "He can talk to as many organisations as he wants to."
"We know N N Vohra, the government interlocutor, is coming to Kashmir, but we do not know who he is meeting. He is not talking to the Hurriyat leadership," added Ansari.
Former Hurriyat chairman Professor Abdul Gani Bhat supported Ansari's stand on talking only to the prime minister.
"If the talks are held at the same level as they were being held before," Bhat said, "only then can we achieve something."
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