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Hurriyat to discuss Centre's invitation for talks

By Onkar Singh/Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi
July 05, 2004 22:59 IST
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Top leadership of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference would meet in Srinagar on Tuesday morning and consider Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil's proposal to hold negotiations with the Centre.

"We have received an invitation from the home ministry regarding the talks. We would meet on Tuesday to assess the ground realities as they exist in the valley today and also consider the Union government's proposal to hold talks with Home Minister Shivraj Patil," APHC chairman Maulvi Abbas Ansari told from Srinagar in a telephonic conversation on Monday.

"We would continue the talks from where the last government left off. Why should we start afresh when we can retain the good things of the talks between the Hurriyat and my predecessor L K Advani. We have extended an invitation to the APHC and it is for them to decide when would they like to come to Delhi," Patil told

Ansari had earlier demanded that the Hurriyat would only talk to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh because Patil did not have the status of Advani who also held the post of the deputy prime minister and had been appointed by former prime minister A B Vajpayee to hold talks.

Ansari said that the Hurriyat leadership was taking a big risk by holding talks with the Centre about the Kashmir problem. "We have become targets of those people who do not want these talks to be held. We have been provided security cover but that is not enough. We need to make some headway in our talks so that the miseries of the people of Kashmir come to an end," he said.

Meanwhile in Delhi, Patil held a meeting with senior government officials to prepare the brief to be given to the Centre's interlocutor on Kashmir N N Vohra for his talks with the Hurriyat, a top home ministry functionary said.

The prime minister's special adviser M K Narayanan, the National Security Adviser J N Dikshit and a senior official of the Research and Analysis Wing were the others present at the meeting.

Patil had told reporters on June 11  (in his first press conference after assuming charge of the ministry) that the dialogue with the Hurriyat could start in July.

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Onkar Singh/Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi