June 2000 News

Farooq opposes trifurcation, tripartite talks

14 June 2000
Times of India

Jammu: Chief minister Farooq Abdullah and separatist leader Shabir Shah, chief of the Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party, have opposed trifurcation of the state. Speaking at Bonyar in Baramullah district on Tuesday, Farooq also ruled out tripartite talks to include Pakistan, as demanded by the Hurriyat Conference, and said it was only India from which they (Hurriyat leaders) could hope to get something. Without mentioning Union home minister Advani''s reported remarks that trifurcation of the state could be one of the ideas that could be ''considered'' when the proposed reconciliation talks got underway, the J&K chief minister said any such step would lead to a break up of the country. Farooq said the separatists wanted to hold talks with the Union government, but were striking a ''pretentious'' public posture. The occasion, on the eve of the birth centenary of the ''Saviour of Kashmir'' Brig Rajinder Singh, who died at Bonyar on October 27, 1947, holding back Pakistani hordes with a handful of his men, had a symbolic significance for the unity and integrity of the country. For, a short distance beyond the spot in the Uri area lies the Line of Control (LoC), a legacy of the unilateral ceasefire declared by India effective from January 1, 1949. Shabir, speaking at Banihal in a different context, but apparently with Advani''s remarks and those of Hurriyat chief Ali Shah Geelani in mind, said ''no further partition of the state will be tolerated''. Shabir, who was expelled from the Hurriyat for defying its decision not to receive then US ambassador Frank Wisner in Srinagar in view of the perceived US ''tilt'' toward the Indian viewpoint, said lately ''several leaders from Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir and some foreign ambassadors'' had met him to ''throw feelers'' if he was ready for talks. He said he had replied that ''we have been ready for talks since 1947, but have been thwarted by India''s arrogance''. Before the 1996 Lok Sabha and assembly elections in the state, Shabir, along with Yaseen Malik, were, on the basis of their public statements, seen as popular moderate leaders holding the promise for peace in the Valley. But soon, they, more so Yaseen, became more of ''also rans''. Shabir said in Banihal on Tuesday that he had come to ''educate'' the people about the ''rumours'' being spread by the government regarding talks with the separatists, apparently referring to reports that a process of informal talks had been going on for some months, particularly with the moderate leaders.


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