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India, not us, backtracked from peace talks: Kashmir separatist

Srinagar, October 20, 2007:

Hurriyat leaders
Hurriyat leaders

Chairman of the moderate faction of Kashmir’s main separatist alliance, All Parties Hurriyat Conference, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has said that it was the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and not Hurriyat that had backtracked from their promise of continuing New Delhi-Kashmir parleys.

He was reacting to the statement of Indian Prime Minster Manmohan Singh who on Friday said that the Hurriyat despite promises had not participated in the consecutive Round Table Conferences on Kashmir organised by New Delhi.

Mirwaiz said that they had accepted to participate in any such conferences only after assurances from New Delhi that such conferences would be held on the both sides of the ceasefire line, the de facto border which divides the Indian administered and Pakistan administered parts of Kashmir.

“We met the Indian leadership in May 2006. There it was decided that the committees on addressing the Kashmir dispute would be formed in both parts of Kashmir,” Mirwaiz said.

He said that after a brief period New Delhi, brushing aside formation of such committees, proposed the idea of Round Table Conference and invited every Tom, Dick and Harry to participate in it. “We decided not engage ourselves in the RTC since we thought it was an exercise in futility. So it was India not the Hurriyat which reneged its promise to talk on peace.”

Talking to the accompanying newspersons at the end of his visit to Nigeria and South Africa on Thursday night, Singh had said that the moderate APHC had reneged on its promise to hold talks with New Delhi.

However, Singh said that he was hopeful of talking to political groups in Kashmir to address the long-standing Kashmir dispute.

Singh said: “The round table conference process was developed to enable all segments of Kashmir’s political groups the opportunity to join hands with New Delhi to look at the problem. It is my regret that the Hurriyat, despite promises, did not come for talks.

“I have not lost the hope to engage all groups in helping restoration of peace. I will be happy to interact with any group.”

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