Centre Has An 'open Mind', PM To JKLF Chief
17 February 2006
New Delhi: Seeking a permanent solution to the Kashmir issue, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today met separatist JKLF chief Yaseen Malik and assured him that the Centre has an 'open mind' and would like to involve a larger cross-section of public opinion to end 'the period of suffering'. In his first meeting with Malik, Singh said there was an an air of optimism in the state and an opportunity to bring lasting and permanent peace in the state. Singh's meeting with Malik comes a week ahead of his talks with a cross-section of political parties and separatists groups from the state. 'The Prime Minister would like all men and women of goodwill in the dialogue process to end the period of suffering,' Prime Minister's media adviser Sanjaya Baru told reporters after the hour-long meeting with Malik. Emerging from the meeting at the Prime Minister's Race Course Road residence, Malik wanted the Centre to hold talks with separatist leaders in a third country on the line of negotiations being held with the Naga insurgent group NSCN (I-M). Terming his meeting with the Prime Minister as part of 'consultations', Malik made it clear that the peace process would become irreversible only after key militant leaders were included in the talks.