March 2003 News

Hurriyat Leaders Meet Sonia

15 March 2003
The Asian Age

New Delhi: A two member delegation of the Hurriyat Conference comprising former chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and JKLF chief Yasin Malik met Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Saturday for nearly 40 minutes and briefed her about the present situation in the state. The delegation apprised Mrs Gandhi of the alleged harassment from the BJP-led NDA government. The two leaders did not meet the waiting reporters outside Mrs Gandhi's residence. This was the first public meeting of the Hurriyat leaders with any prominent political leader. Sources in the Hurriyat said the delegation apprised Mrs Gandhi about the banning of the religious institutions in the Kashmir Valley including madrasas. The delegation, which is in New Delhi to hold consultations with diplomats on the possibility of finding a solution to the Kashmir issue on the lines of the Irish peace process, conveyed to the Congress president that the secular face of the country's polity had taken a beating after the BJP government came to power. The two Hurriyat leaders had recently met former Prime Minister V.P. Singh. It is learnt that they were also planning to meet CPM leader Somnath Chatterjee and Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav. These move are likely to be monitored carefully in the valley as this was the first attempt at wider political consultations. Senior Congress leader Manmohan Singh told reporters after the meeting that the Hurriyat leaders held a general discussion with Mrs Gandhi.


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