New govt will help facilitate talks, hopes Shabir Shah
12 October 2002
The Times of India
JAMMU: Separatist leader Shabir Shah says he is hopeful the new government in Jammu and Kashmir will help facilitate dialogue process between Kashmiri groups and the Centre for peaceful resolution of Kashmir issue. Unlike the BJP and the National Conference, which created 'hurdles' in the dialogue process, the new dispensation is expected to move forward in resolving the Kashmir issue as promised by the Congress and the People's Democratic Party in their election manifestos, Shah told PTI here. The Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party supremo said the new government must also address the issue of alienation of people from the mainstream. It should take steps for withdrawal of POTA, release of political and other detenues and disbanding of the Special Operation Group (SOG) he said, adding a conducive atmosphere should be created for return of displaced Kashmiri Hindus. Shah said various political parties wanted to see the exit of SOG for 'excesses' committed by it. The Central government, Shah said, should continue the dialogue process with the Kashmiri groups, including separatists, and initiate moves for talks with Pakistan for peaceful resolution of the problem. Talks between India and Pakistan were necessary to de-escalate the tension, he said. On Kashmir Committee headed by Ram Jethmalani, Shah said, 'They are friends of Kashmiris and can become a bridge between New Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir.' The Committee is visiting the Valley for three days from October 18 to continue dialogue with separatist groups, he said.