Kashmir Round II - Hurriyat, PM To Meet Again
26 April 2006
The Hindustan Times
New Delhi: Seven monthts after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met the Hurriyat Conference, they will meet for a second round of parleys in New Delhi on May 3 or 4. This round is significant as its outcome will decide the Hurriyat's participation in the second round of the PM's roundtable conference, slated to be held in Srinagar on May 25. Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq cut short his foreign tour and reached Srinagar on Tuesday to consult his colleagues on the meeting. The Hurriyat had threatened to stay away from the Srinagar meet after expressing its displeasure over the 'lack of clarity' in the Centre's dealing with the conglomerate. They wanted to meet the PM before deciding on the roundtable conference. The Centre is said to be keen that the Hurriyat participate in the roundtable - it had boycotted the first conference. A meeting without the Hurriyat will rob it of its representative character, official sources said. Hurriyat leaders were unhappy with the 'slow pace' of the dialogue and the 'contradictory statements' being issued by officials dealing with Kashmir. There are indications that the Centre will make efforts to mollify the separatist leaders by focusing on some of the key issues they raised. In fact, accepting their demand for a second round of talks with the PM ahead of the roundtable is an indicator to that effect. Official sources pointed out that the Hurriyat's key demand of making the roundtable conference more 'meaningful' by reducing the number of participants is being actively considered. It is likely that the number of participants will be reduced from 70 to 20. At the inaugural meet, some of the participants did not get a chance to speak. Decision time ¦ Hurriyat Conference and PM Manmohan Singh will meet for a second round of talks in New Delhi on May 3 or 4 ¦ This meeting will decide whether the Hurriyat will partici pate in the second roundtable confer ence on Kashmir in Srinagar on May 25 ¦ It had boycotted the first conference Hurriyat concerns ¦ Hurriyat leaders are unhappy with 'slow pace' of dialogue and 'contradictory statements' issued by officials dealing with Kashmir ¦ Their key demand - of making round table more 'mean ingful' by reducing number of partici pants - is reported ly being actively considered ¦ Number of participants likely to go down from 70 to 20.