Hurriyat ready to meet Jethmalani for talks
5 August 2002
The Times of India
New Delhi: The Hurriyat Conference on Monday said it had ''no problems'' in holding talks with the Kashmir Committee headed by former law minister Ram Jethmalani but ruled out participation in the forthcoming Assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir. ''I have no problems in holding talks with them as they are renowned intellectuals of the country and the initiative is purely in their individual capacity with the government having nothing to do with it,'' Hurriyat Conference Chairman Abdul Ghani Bhat said here. The Kashmir Committee was formed on Sunday with Jethmalani as its chairman and Supreme Court advocate Ashok Bhan as its convenor. The other members of the committee are former law minister Shanti Bushan, The Times of India Editor Dileep Padgaonkar, freelance journalist Jawid Laiq, retired IFS officer V K Grover, eminent lawyer Fali Nariman and Asian Age editor M J Akbar. However, Nariman and Akbar could not attend the committee''s meeting on Sunday. While Jethmalani had told reporters on Sunday that Hurriyat had stated that they did not have enough time for arranging the logistics, Bhat rejected any proposal to take part in the polls saying, ''This is an irrelevant exercise. We have made it clear that we will not participate in the polls and the issue no longer exists for us.''