Centre gets tough with J&K separatists
23 April 2006
New Delhi: Taking a tough line, the Union Government has said that the separatist groups in Jammu and Kashmir did not have a 'veto' on the 'success or otherwise' of the second roundtable conclave to be held in Srinagar next month. At the same time, it maintained that efforts were on to tell them to 'recognise the validity and utility of participation' in the meeting to be presided over by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on May 25. 'I don't think the success of the roundtable depends on the attendance of any group — A, B or C... In any case, I don't think the separatists have a veto on the success or otherwise [of the roundtable],' National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan said here. He was replying to a question whether the separatist groups had indicated their participation and whether the conclave would be relevant if they did not attend. They constitute a 'very small percentage,' he said. The first roundtable conclave, chaired by the Prime Minister, was held here on February 25. The founder-member of the JKLF, Hashim Qureshi, was the only separatist leader present at the meeting. He said 'we will like them to attend. Efforts are being made to persuade them to recognise the validity and utility of participation.'