August 2000 News

We Are Trying To Rope In More Groups In Peace Talks: Dar

24 August 2000
Hindustan Times
Arun Joshi

Srinagar: In a new twist to the behind-the-scene efforts to broker another ceasefire, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen commander-in-chief Abdul Majid Dar today revealed that his group was in touch with other militant outfits in the Kashmir Valley to work out a ''comprehensive ceasefire''. In an interview to Al-Safa, an Urdu daily, Majid Dar said other steps were also underway to bring peace in the Valley. The Hizbul leader, however, said ''any step on our side would be consequent to the Government of India''s reaction''. Majid Dar, who has suddenly started speaking to the media after remaining inaccessible following the collapse of the peace talks, did not identify the groups the Hizbul was in touch with nor did he outline the contours of the talks. But he once again reiterated that some international personalities along with the ''Indian intelligentsia'' were trying to broker a resumption of the peace efforts. ''More groups may come and join the peace process'' this time, he said. Squarely blaming the Indian Government for the failure of the peace efforts, Majid Dar said his group had withdrawn the unilateral ceasefire announced on July 24 because of the ''discordant and different voices by India on Kashmir''. He said only tripartite talks between India, Pakistan and the Kashmiris could offer ''an opportunity to all the parties to sit face to face and air their views''. Asked why it could take two months for a fresh ceasefire, Majid Dar is quoted by the newspaper as saying: ''By that time there will be a conducive atmosphere''. He denied that any secret talks were on between the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen and the Centre. Majid Dar said his group would give up all operations if the ''security forces reciprocate''.


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