April 2000 News

Hurriyat not reciprocal, says Fernandes

21 April 2000

Lucknow: The Defence Minister, Mr. George Fernandes, today said the Hurriyat leaders'' response to the Government's offer of talks had not been ''encouraging''. The Centre had a positive approach to holding talks with the Hurriyat Conference and it should be reciprocated, he told reporters here. ''The government has a positive approach that is why we released some Hurriyat leaders'', but reciprocity in the approach from the other end was lacking. Asked whether the Government would release all jailed Hurriyat leaders as was hinted at by the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister in Delhi yesterday, Mr. Fernandes said Dr. Farooq Abdullah has given his own opinion. The steps in this regard can only be taken by the government.'' To a question whether the Chief Minister''s statement reflected a lack of ''unity of mind'' between the Centre and the State Government, he said ''it would have been better had Abdullah not spoken''. Mr. Fernandes, however, hastened to add that ''Farooq Abdullah is the Chief Minister, there is nothing wrong if he says something in this regard''.


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