Omar Reaches Out To Separatists

15 January 2009
The Times of India

Srinagar: In an attempt to reach out to separatists, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah on Thursday said his government has forwarded a list of 'political prisoners' to the state screening committee for their release. 'The list of the political prisoners arrested before the elections is there for the committee's consideration,' Omar said while addressing his first press conference after taking over as CM. Omar's move is being seen as an attempt to bring the separatists back to the negotiating table. Facilitating a separatist-Centre dialogue has been one of his important poll promises. Omar said he would like the decisions of releasing political prisoners to be taken at the district level. 'Unfortunately, we've a committee in which the presence of government of India official is necessary. We want deputy commissioners to take the decisions on releasing the political prisoners,' he said. Omar maintained that he wouldn't commit the mistakes made by his predecessors and look into the cases of enforced disappearances.