PM-Hurriyat Talks Strike Positive Note
3 May 2006
The Hindustan Times
New Delhi: The Centre and the moderate Hurriyat leaders resolved on Wednesday to set up a mechanism to look into all aspects of the Kashmir problem to further carry forward the peace process. Even though the contours of the proposed mechanism have not been spelt out, it appears that a select Hurriyat Group may interact with the Union Home Minister over the proposals to be tossed up by the separatists for specific discussions. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's media advisor Sanjaya Baru said the PM described his discussions with Hurriyat as a 'meeting of minds' and hoped the discussions would lead to better times for the people of the Jammu and Kashmir. The response from the Hurriyat leaders also appeared positive going by the remarks of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. He described the meeting as 'very frank and fruitful' wherein all aspects of the issue were deliberated upon in a cordial atmosphere. Emerging out of a nearly twohour meeting with Singh and his close aides, including Home Minister Shivraj Patil, the Hurriyat chairman said the separatists would come back with specific proposals for kickstarting the discussions on the Kashmir issue in its entirety within the framework of a 'mechanism'. Mirwaiz did not give any categorical answer to the prospects of the participation of the separatists in the second Kashmir Round Table to be held towards the end of the month in Srinagar. The Hurriyat had boycotted the first Round Table held in Delhi. However, the tenor of Mirwaiz's remarks suggested that the separatists might join the Srinagar Round Table even as the Hurriyat chief made a pointed reference to his party's apprehensions and concerns' over such a conclave. Significantly, the Mirwaiz has already asserted that Hurriyat would prefer a composite team of the representatives of mainline Kashmir-centric political parties and other separatists to take up concrete discussions in the proposed conclave in Srinagar.