''Hurriyat Not For Talks Under Indian Constitution''
26 November 2002
The Hindustan Times
New Delhi: Demonstrating a hardline posture, senior Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has asserted the separatist conglomerate is not ready to talk to the Centre under the Indian Constitution and described the terrorist violence in Jammu and Kashmir as ''freedom struggle''. He ruled out Hurriyat''s participation in any democratic process such as elections ''which is aimed at legitimising India''s self-rule in Kashmir''. Farooq, while participating in Tim Sebastian''s Hard Talk programme for the BBC World, said ''there is a possibility'' of the Hurriyat settling for ''something less than full reunification'' of whole of J&K ''if India and Pakistan reach an agreement and we are given access to people in Azad Kashmir (PoK), the borders are opened.'' ''They (New Delhi) have said they are willing to talk under the Indian Constitution. Our problem cannot be resolved under the Indian Constitution,'' the Hurriyat Executive Committee member said when referred to the Centre''s stance that it would open talks provided terrorism stops. He also refused to accept Jammu and Kashmir as part of India. When the host repeatedly told him ''you may not like it, but it is part of the state of India'', Farooq replied ''that is the dispute, that is what the whole story is about''. Though he described Hizbul Mujahideen as a ''militant outfit'', he refused to condemn its activities, saying ''that''s freedom struggle. You have to make a distinction.''