August 2003 News

No Ultras In Talks: Hurriyat

17 August 2003
The Statesman

Jammu: The Hurriyat has opposed the People's Democratic Party president's proposal for involving militants into any peace talks with the Centre. Instead, the 23-party separatist conglomerate demanded that only its leaders be engaged in talks. 'Gun-totting militants can't join talks. It is the political leadership alone who should be invited. We represent the Kashmiri people, including the militants,' said former Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. The Mirwaiz accused Miss Mehbooba Mufti of trying to divide the Hurriyat leadership and create confusion among the minds of the people by saying that the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen should be included in the peace talks. He said: 'Mainstream leaders can't dictate terms about the talks. Our position is crystal clear: Talks should be held with the 23-party alliance because we represent Kashmiris. Once the process is initiated, we will take militants into confidence to evolve a consensus.' He iterated the Hurriyat demand that alliance leaders be allowed to visit Pakistan for talks with the PoK-based militant leadership. 'We have said and we iterate that we want to act as bridge for talks. We want to go to Pakistan to negotiate with the militants. If we succeed it would create a conducive atmosphere for future talks.' The Mirwaiz said the leaders would try to convince the militants in Pakistan to hold fire so that talks could begin at the earliest. 'But there has been no response from New Delhi to our proposal. We wish both countries start talks and involve us in the process.' Villager beheaded JAMMU, Aug. 17. - A villager in Rajouri district was beheaded by militants for refusing to guide them around the area. A group of militants barged into the house of Mohammad Amin at Kakora village last night and asked him to accompany them. But Amin refused, provoking the ultras to drag him out of the house. He was taken to a spot outside the village where he was beheaded. On 14 August, a shopkeeper, Abdul Karim, had been beheaded by militants in Surankote, Poonch district. He too refused to guide the militants around the neighbourhood.


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