August 2006 News

Hizb ready for talks, but wont disarm

17 August 2006
The Daily Times

Srinagar: Hizbul Mujahedin, held Kashmirs largest Islamic militant group, said on Thursday that it was not scared of talks with New Delhi, but insisted that there should be no conditions, such as disarming. Hizbul Mujahideens statement came as the regions top separatist politician, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, said he would visit Belfast next month to study the Irish Good Friday peace deal to determine if it could help resolve the Kashmir issue. Hizbul Mujahedin was never scared of talks in the past nor is it against the process today, group spokesman Junaidul Islam told a local news agency. He however said that if Indian leaders were sincere, they should not have put preconditions before the talks. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said New Delhi was willing to hold talks with militant groups if they disarmed before talks. When India held talks with Naga militants, such a condition was not there, said Islam, referring to a group active in Assam state. Hizb wants to make it clear that the armed struggle will continue until India accepts the reality that Kashmir is a disputed state, he added. Farooq urged talks between New Delhi and the militants, but said neither side should set preconditions. He said that four rounds of talks between the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) and New Delhi had yielded nothing substantive.


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