Progress On Talks With Kashmiri Separatists: Chidambaram

30 September 2009

New Delhi: Home Minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday indicated that there was 'progress' towards initiating talks with Kashmiri separatist groups but refused to give any details on the developments. He was responding to queries from reporters whether Home Ministry was going to resume the stalled talks with separatists including that with Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umar Farroq. 'At this stage I am not willing to share it in great detail but I will only tell you - Yes! there is some progress,' Chidambaram told reporters in New Delhi. According to sources in the ministry, back-channel talks were already on to have the dialogue at official level in the coming months and the Mirwaiz may soon be invited for the same. The talks are likely to discuss separatists' demands for reduction of Army and Central forces, bringing back of Kashmiri youths who are being trained as militants in Pakistan occupied Kashmir and revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act. The fresh round of talks will be fifth in the series between Kashmiri separatists and the Union Government as previous ones - two during former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's tenure and two during the first term of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh - did not yield expected results. The government had also invited Sajjad Gani Lone, Chairman of People's Conference, for talks in January 2006 followed by JKLF Chairman Yasim Malik in February.