Farooq favours multilateral J&K dialogue
16 May 2000
Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah on Tuesday favoured a multilateral dialogue to bring peace and normalcy to the state. He insisted he was not averse to talks with anyone who could contribute to ending the bloodshed, dispelling rumours that he had objected to the Centre’s initiative to hold talks with the secessionist Hurriyat Conference. Dr Abdullah said it was not true that New Delhi was keeping him in the dark about its moves to hold talks with the Hurriyat Conference leadership. He said that he was consulted by the Centre before the release of the Hurriyat leaders from prison and was being kept abreast with everything related to the matter. What he felt was that a dialogue on Kashmir could be meaningful only if it leas to the end of gun culture and the prevailing bloodshed in the state. He revealed that the Hurriyat leaders were set free only after they had their first round of talks with the Centre and what they say in public is not true. The chief minister, during an informal chat with reporters here, said: “Though India was endeavouring to create a conducive atmosphere at various levels, Pakistan has responded by killing my minister Gulam Hassan Butt.” He said that several Union minister would be flying to the Valley to attend the fourth day ceremony of the slain minister. He added that Union home minister L.K. Advani and Union minister of state for civil aviation Chaman Lal Gupta spoke to him about the tragic incident and wanted to come and made the others delay their visit.