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It is below my dignity to speak to Vohra: Hurriyat chief

Onkar Singh in New Delhi | July 16, 2003 11:12 IST

The new chairman of the All Party Hurriyat Conference, Moulvi Abbas Ansari, on Wednesday said he would rather discuss the Kashmir issue with Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee or Deputy PM Lal Kishenchand Advani, than the Centre's interlocutor, N N Vohra.

"We can send our representative to meet Vohra and discuss the matter with him. But it would not be proper for me as the chairman of Hurriyat Conference to hold talks with him… it would be below my dignity…" he told rediff.com on phone from Srinagar.

"How can I talk to someone who has been holding talks with the president of the Srinagar taxi union or president of the Shikara union?"

When former prime minister Indira Gandhi held talks with National Conference founder Sheikh Abdullah, Syed Mir Qasim, the then chief minister, was kept out of the loop, he said.

"The accord that was signed is known as the Gandhi-Sheikh Abdullah Accord. So our representatives can meet now and do the groundwork for higher level of meeting later on," he added.

He also ruled out any chance of mediation.

"The issue is between India and Pakistan and both sides have intellectuals who can hold negotiations.

"If American want to lend a helping hand, as a friend they are welcome. But if they want to come as masters and impose a solution on India and Pakistan, then both countries should reject it," he said.

The Moulvi said his first task was to unite the various factions of the conglomerate.

He said he had already held talks with Syed Ali Shah Geelani and other members of the Jammat-e-Islami in this regard.

The war in Iraq had changed a lot of things and it was important to resolve outstanding matters through talks, according to him.

"We have realised that the matters cannot be solved through the barrel of the gun."

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