January 2003 News

No talks with Pak-backed militants, says Advani

6 January 2003
The Asian Age

Mumbai: Deputy prime minister L.K. Advani said here on Monday that the Centre was ready to talk to all militants in India, but not to 'Pakistan- sponsored groups' in Jammu and Kashmir. Mr Advani said, 'One needs to differentiate between militancy that has grown out of alienation of the people and that which is nothing but cross-border terrorism.' He said: 'Those who have taken to militancy to air grievances against the administration can be encouraged to give up violence and talk with the government. However, terrorists who come from across the border have their own aims, objectives, agendas and policies.' Mr Advani cited major breakthroughs in talks with Naga and Bodo militants as examples. 'Talks with the NSCN(I-M) and the Bodo Liberation Tigers have arrived at a decisive phase. For the first time, the NSCN(I-M) leadership is arriving in Delhi on January 8 to hold talks. Tripartite talks between the central government, the Assam government and BLT are also scheduled, which will hopefully break the deadlock,' he said. On Kashmir, Mr Advani said: 'During my recent visit to the Valley, I had announced that the Centre would talk with elected representatives.' The deputy prime minister, however, refused comment on talks with militants in Jammu and Kashmir. 'There seems to be no meaningful purpose in tripartite talks with Pakistan. No one should talk to us by being Pakistanís spokesperson,' he said, referring to the Hurriyat Conference which has been insisting on talks with Pakistan. Mr Advani also sent a veiled message to Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mufti Muhammed Sayeed, asking him to 'keep off' security issues. 'The state government can decide on policies to ensure good governance and socio- economic development of the state. But, policies concerning security should first be consulted with the Centre.' Mr Advani refused to comment on whether the government was planning on a general amnesty for militants of the Northeast.


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