Talks with groups authorised by militants: Jaiswal
11 August 2004
The Daily Excelsior
Daily Excelsior Correspondent
Jammu: Union Minister of State for Home Sriprakash Jaiswal today said the Centre will talk to the separatist groups, which have the authority to talk on behalf of the militants, and come forward for dialogue adopting peaceful means. 'On our part, we are ready for talks. There is no delay from our side. But, we will talk to any strong group which has been authorised by the militants', Mr Jaiswal told a press conference here this afternoon before winding up his four day visit to Jammu and Kashmir. Asked whether it means the Centre wants to talk to pro-Pakistan leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, the MoS Home clarified that he was not indicating towards any separatist leader. 'Any group with militants’ backing which comes forward for talks will be welcomed', he declared. Simultaneously, Mr Jaiswal reiterated his statement given at a press conference in Srinagar yesterday that talks will be held within framework of the Indian Constitution. 'Home Minister (Shivraj Patil) has very clearly stated that the talks with Kashmir group will be held within the Indian Constitution. There is no change in our stand', he said and asked 'whether any Home Minister of the country has ever stated that talks can be held beyond the framework of Constitution'? On former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s call that the talks will be held within the framework of ‘insaaniyat’, Mr Jaiswal observed that there is no difference in ‘insaaniyat’ and ‘Constitution’. The difference is only of the words, he asserted. Saying that he was optimistic about the talks with separatist group, the Minister of State for Home said 'neither we have given any confusing signals nor we have raised any obstacles in the talks'. If at all there are any hindrances in the beginning of dialogue, they will be overcome, he added. Asked about two rounds of dialogue held by the previous Government with Ansari group of Hurriyat Conference (now headed by Mirwaiz Farooq), Mr Jaiswal said it was upto the group to take a decision (on talks). He declined to comment on PDP president Mehbooba Mufti’s stand that talks should be unconditional. On being repeatedly insisted for comments on Mehbooba’s statement, he said 'we have good relations with the PDP, our coalition partner in the Government. The Centre will take the State Government into confidence before start of the talks'. Asserting that situation has improved in the State with both violence and infiltration going down, Mr Jaiswal said the visit of hundreds of tourists in the State was a clear indication of improvement in the situation. The figures also proved that the violence and infiltration have gone down. However, he attributed, reduction in infiltration to fencing of the border and efforts of the security forces. 'It is yet to be seen', was his reply when asked whether Pakistan has also played any role in reduced infiltration. 'We hope Pakistan will accept the truth and in the coming days they will take more steps to curb infiltration of the militants to Indian side', he said. To a question whether the training camps of the militants still exists in Pakistan, Mr Jaiswal advised the media not to raise any such question which could disturb the peace process between the two countries. 'Neither you should ask such questions, nor I should give reply to them. All of us should make efforts that the talks between India and Pakistan went on smoothly', the Union Minister said. 'We are fully sincere (in talks with Pakistan)', he said when asked about Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf’s statement that India was not sincere in the talks. The Minister said no decision has been taken so far on replacement of the Border Security Force (BSF) with the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in J&K. Security scenario in the State is reviewed from time to time, he added. Regarding autonomy resolution passed in the Assembly by previous NC Government, Mr Jaiswal said if anything new comes to the Centre, it will be discussed.