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July 29, 2000
Farooq discusses J&K situation with PM
Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah Saturday met Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to discuss the political and security scenario in the sensitive northern Indian border state, following a dramatic cease-fire announcement by the Hizbul Mujahideen to find a peaceful solution to the Kashmir problem.
Abdullah, during a half-an-hour meeting, apprised the prime minister of the impact of the cease-fire offer of the militant group on the security of country, particularly in J&K.
The chief minister's talks with the prime minister followed a high-level meeting at the prime minister's residence Friday night to review the Kashmir situation and extend the invitation to the Pakistani-backed militant group for talks with home secretary Kamal Pandey in New Delhi.
Abdullah, who was on a whirlwind tour of southern and north-eastern states to drum up support on the autonomy issue, shared with Vajpayee views expressed by various political leaders of the country.
The chief minister had welcomed the cease-fire offer and hoped that it would pave the way for restoration of peace in the state. He said it was a step in the right direction.
The cease-fire offer to the militant group followed Pande's visit to the Kashmir valley last week, ostensibly to prepare the ground for such a move by the Hizbul group.
It is the second time that any militant group has offered to end hostile activities during the past 11 years of militancy in the valley. Such an offer was earlier made by the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF). However, the area of activities of the Hizbul group is larger than the JKLF.
The Hizbul cease-fire offer was made by its operational commander Abdul Majid Dar at a press meet in Srinagar on July 24.
The government had also taken cognisance of the support extended to the peace initiative by people in Kashmir. It has been maintained by the government that the resolution of the Kashmir problem can be achieved only through dialogue and not continued militancy. And the government recognised the need for peace in the state, senior officials in the home ministry said.
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