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Hurriyat wants to meet PM before 2nd round table
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April 25, 2006 12:46 IST

The moderate Hurriyat Conference will participate in the second round table in Srinagar [Images] in May provided it is first called for a one-on-one with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images], amalgam sources said Tuesday.

The sources told UNI that the separatist leaders wanted to hold the second phase of discussions with the prime minister to explain their stand on several issues, including the round table.

They want to discuss the progress made on the issues raised during the separatists' first round of talks with Dr Singh.

Almost all top separatists, including the Hurriyat leaders, did not attend the first round table, held at the prime minister's 7 Race Course residence on February 25.

"They are not against the meet, but they first want a separate meeting with Dr Singh to put forth their views. They want a meaningful dialogue and have suggested inviting only relevant people for the conference," the sources said.

"After the first meeting between Dr Singh and the Hurriyat leaders on September 5, 2005, much has happened and the separatists want a new beginning... they also want to discuss the progress made on the issues raised during the talks," the sources said.

They said the Centre had invited people who it had no ideological differences with to discuss Kashmir which served no purpose.

"The amalgam leaders have no problem sitting with pro-India politicians, but the Centre has to clarify what purpose that will serve... The dialogue must be separatist inclusive to achieve a breakthrough," the sources said.

During the September 5 meeting, the prime minister assured the separatists that a slew of measures, including troop reduction and time-bound review of cases under the Public Safety Act and Prevention of Terrorism Activities Act, will be considered for restoring peace in Jammu and Kashmir [Images] if violence and infiltration came to an end.

Both the sides agreed to carry forward the dialogue process so that all regions and shades of political opinion in the state were involved.

A five-member separatist delegation, comprising Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, Prof Abdul Ghani Bhat, Maulana Abbas Ansari, Bilal Lone and Fazal Haq Qureshi, had met the prime minister.

Since September 2005, the Hurriyat leaders have several times met Pakistani leadership, including President Pervez Musharraf [Images] and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz.

In a series of measures to broaden the scope of the dialogue beyond the Hurriyat Conference and arrive at a consensus on the vexed Kashmir issue, the prime minister first invited Peoples Conference Chairman Sajjad Ghani Lone on January 14 for talks.

On February 17, Dr Singh held a dialogue with pro-independence Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Yasin Malik.

The prime minister assured him that the government has an "open mind" on involving all shades of opinion, including groups outside the electoral process, in the parleys.

On February 25, Dr Singh convened the first ever all party conclave to ascertain views of all groups, including political leaders, separatists, academicians, NGO's and others from Jammu and Kashmir and arrive at a broad-based consensus on the imbroglio.

The move was dubbed as a "bold initiative" towards resolution of the Kashmir issue, but lost much of its sheen due to non-participation of the secessionists.

Around 50 people were invited to the conference, which was also attended by Home Minister Shivraj Patil and several senior officials.

In 2004, the Hurriyat had held two rounds of talks with the previous National Democratic Alliance government.

The then deputy prime minister Lal Kishenchand Advani had twice met the Hurriyat leaders -- first on January 22, 2004, and later on March 27 the same year.

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