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August 18, 2000
Conducive atmosphere necessary for talks: Naidu
Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi
Bharatiya Janata Party spokesman M Venkaiah Naidu on Friday said that the Hizbul Mujahideen would do well to heed the sentiments of the people of Jammu and Kashmir who favour peace and an end to militancy.
Naidu said that a conducive atmosphere should precede any talks on Kashmir. He indicated that 'pin-pricks' from across the border, like the Inter Services Intelligence's instigation of Deendar Anjuman activists in India, would have to stop.
"Union Home Minister L K Advani has just reiterated that the government is open to talks with parties which have eschewed violence. I see a positive signal in the latest statement of Fazil-ul Haq Qureshi that the people of Jammu and Kashmir are in favour of peace and an end to militancy. If the Hizbul Mujahideen takes note of these sentiments, it will be a good sign," Naidu told reporters outside Parliament.
Significantly, Qureshi had earlier in the day asserted that efforts were on in both India and Pakistan to resume the dialogue. He also added that other militant groups would join the dialogue at a later juncture.
However, Naidu did not comment on the All Parties Hurriyat Conference's latest proposal - simultaneous talks with both India and Pakistan by two separate groups of Hurriyat leaders.
Hurriyat sources said that the two groups will comprise party members who are sympathetic to the respective nations.
"The proposed four-member group that would talk to the Indian government is likely to include former APHC chief Syed Ali Geelani and Abbas Ansari. The three-member group, which would talk to the Pakistani government, is likely to include another former party chief Abdul Gani Lone and Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chief Yasin Malik," party sources told rediff.com.
While Geelani and Ansari are supposed to have a 'good rapport' with the Indian government, Lone and Malik had a 'close understanding' with the Pakistani side.
The sources stressed that the formula showed the Hurriyat's desire to restore peace and amity in Jammu and Kashmir.
Naidu told rediff.com, "A number of parties are involved in preparing the ground for talks, for which a conducive atmosphere is absolutely necessary. Therefore, the Hurriyat should first talk to Pakistan (for creating a conducive atmosphere)."
Naidu expressed surprise that opposition parties had not condemned the alleged involvement of a junior Indian Air Force officer in the recent blasts in churches in south India.
He said that the silence of the opposition parties, quick to condemn members of the Sangh Parivar on communal issues, in this context was surprising to say the least.
He said it was vital for Indian political parties to grasp the dimensions of the conspiracy to defame the government and the Sangh Parivar.
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