January 2006 News

Hurriyat's Mirwaiz To Visit Jammu For Talks With KPs

12 January 2006
The Indian Express

Jammu: Moderate Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umer Farooq will come on a three-day visit to Jammu in the first week of February to hold talks with Kashmiri Pandits and other groups. This decision on the part of the moderate Hurriyat, which had been delaying talks with KPs and other groups in Jammu, has come after the Centre widened the spectrum of talks with the Hurriyat by inviting Sajjad Lone, who is not part of the Hurriyat, for talks on January 14. Talking to The Indian Express over phone from Srinagar, Syed Salim Geelani, who is the president of the Jammu and Kashmir National People's Party and Hurriyat's interlocutor for Kashmiri Pandits, said Mirwaiz Umer will come anytime in the first week of February. Salim Geelani said due to one or the other reason, Mirwaiz could not visit Jammu in the past few months. 'We want to hold talks with Pandits and other groups in Jammu so that a consensus emerges on the most pressing issues confronting people at present in the state,' he said. It may be noted here that in July last year, for the first time in exile, a delegation of the Kashmiri Pandits met the Hurriyat leaders in Srinagar. After that, it was decided that another round of talks will be held in Jammu to broadbase the talks with other Pandit groups. When asked about the schedule of Mirwaiz Umer, Salim Geelani who is also head of the public contact programme of the moderate Hurriyat, said one day will be kept exclusively for the Kashmiri Pandits, while the other days will be kept for meeting different groups from Jammu. On whether Umer will visit the migrant camps, Salim Geelani who was in Jammu a few days ago to prepare grounds for the meeting, said it is yet to be decided whether he will visit the camps or the meeting with various Pandit representatives will be held at some particular place. Asked which groups will hold talks with the Mirwaiz, Salim Geelani said the Hurriyat will talk with most of the Pandit groups who are ready to create a conducive atmosphere for the return of the Pandits and help in reconciliation of the two estranged communities, both of which emerge from the basic substratum of the composite Kashmiri culture. He added that he is in touch with Pandit organisations such as Jammu Kashmir Secular Alliance and All India Kashmir Forum, which will definitely be part of the KP-Hurriyat talks.


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