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December 10, 2001
1150 IST

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Lone welcomes idea of
'core group' on Kashmir

Onkar Singh in New Delhi

Former chairman of the All Party Hurriyat Conference, Abdul Gani Lone, has welcomed the government's decision to form a 'core group' on Kashmir under the leadership of its mediator K C Pant.

Speaking to rediff.com from his residence in Srinagar on Monday, Lone said the government proposal would be considered after it is formally conveyed to the APHC.

At a press conference held recently in New Delhi, Lone had expressed regret that though the Hurriyat leaders were ready for a dialogue, the government had stopped engaging them even privately.

"We have been hearing about this core group from the media...we have not heard from the government so far," he said.

Meanwhile, there has been some confusion about the constitution of the 'core group.'

Initial reports had said that it would be 23-member committee comprising intelligence officials, bureaucrats and politicians. However, the government is now considering a reduction in the number of members on the panel.

Amongst those who are expected to be on the panel are former RAW chief and now officer on special duty in the prime ministers office, A D Dulat, and the IB chief in the valley, K N Singh.

Union Home Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani could not be contacted for his comments.

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