Hurriyat Says 'nothing New' In PM's Offer For Talks

11 October 2008
The Hindu

Srinagar: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's fresh offer to hold talks with separatists in Kashmir drew a cold response from the Hurriyat Conference on Sunday which claimed there was 'nothing new' in the proposal and harped on its demand for tripartite dialogue. 'Kashmir is disputed and has to be resolved through tripartite talks only and not through bilateral dialogue,' chairman of the moderate faction of Hurriyat Conference Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said. Farooq said he disagreed with the Prime Minister 'that Kashmir is an integral part of India and talks with separatists can be held bilaterally and not through tripartite process by involving Pakistan' into such an exercise. In a fresh attempt to reach out to separatists in Jammu and Kashmir, the prime minister had on Friday during a visit to Jammu and Kashmir offered to hold talks with all sections of people including those who have stayed out of the political process. 'There is nothing new in it (offer of talks). Kashmir is a dispute and needs settlement as per the wishes and aspirations of the people,' the chairman of the hardline faction of Hurriyat Syed Ali Shah Geelani said. Apparently referring to moderate Hurriyat Conference, Geelani said 'some of our colleagues held talks with New Delhi in the past but those proved futile. 'Bilateral and trilateral talks have yielded no results. I am of the view that there should be no talks unless India accepts Kashmir as a dispute and withdraws its troops.' The Hurriyat hawk, however, was quick to add that he was not opposed to the talks to resolve the issue. 'If India accepts Kashmir as a dispute, withdraws troops from the state, revokes black laws, releases all detenues and announce its readiness for trilaterial talks, we are ready for talks,' Geelani said.