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NC won't participate in J&K round table conferences

November 01, 2006 16:10 IST
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The main opposition party in Jammu and Kashmir, National Conference, on Wednesday decided to suspend its participation in any future round table conferences or working groups till there was significant improvement in the human rights situation in the state.

Addressing a news conference in Srinagar, NC president Omar Abdullah said his party was forced to suspend its participation in future round table conferences and working groups keeping in view the fast deteriorating human rights situation in the state.

"The other reason is that till date the government has failed to consititute the promised important working group to hold dialogue on autonomy, self-rule and devolution of powers. It is very unfortunate; a big joke," he added.

Abdullah said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's pledge of zero tolerance as far as the human rights violations were concerned was a welcome step.

"But, nothing has been done so far to check human rights abuses. We did wait for a long time to allow the government to fulfill its promise. We discussed this at round table conferences and working group meetings as well, but in vain," he said.

The NC president also came down heavily on the PDP for not fulfilling the promises of a 'healing touch' and 'peace with dignity' during its three years of rule.

He said the decision was taken after thorough deliberations within the party. "I have written a detailed letter to the prime minister in this regard. Zero tolerance means zero tolerance not less tolerance as being propounded," Abdullah said.

Abdullah said the NC would reconsider its decision only when the ground situation improved in the state.

"Slogans of sky is the limit, zero tolerance... so on and so forth cannot mislead the people anymore. Talk is cheap. We don't believe in these slogans. We want improvement in the situation," he said.

The former Union minister also demanded repeal of "draconian laws" such as the Armed Forces (Special) Powers Act and the Disturbed Areas Act.

Abdullah said his party did not suspend its participation in the round-table conferences or working groups because the Centre had failed to rope in the Hurriyat Conference.

"The Centre's failure is the Centre's failure. In fact, we seriously think that the government has not done enough to rope in the Hurriyat Conference and other separatist groups. Much more needs to be done to widen the dialogue process. We hope they will take more effective steps in this regard. We are not upset with the government's overtures towards the Hurriyat Conference," he added.

At the same time, Abdullah said they were not upset because former chief minister and PDP patron Mufti Mohammed Sayeed was going to New York to address the United Nations General Assembly as the head of a non-official Indian delegation.

"We are happy," he said. However, the NC chief said his party was for dialogue. "We cannot stay away from the dialogue process for a long time. We favour resolution of problems through talks only," he added.

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