Hurriyat Talks Axe On Member20 April 2011
The Telegraph (Kolkata)
Srinagar: The Hurriyat Conference’s moderate faction today suspended one of its constituents because its leader met the Centre’s interlocutors on Kashmir. Moulvi Abbas Ansari, the chief patron of Ittehadul Muslimeen and one of Hurriyat’s founder-members, had held talks with the Dileep Padgaonkar-led three-member team at the peak of the unrest in the Valley in summer last year. The interlocutors had been appointed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. “We have decided to suspend his (Ansari’s) party from the Hurriyat for the time being. We are not against talks (with New Delhi) but want our conditions to be met first. That was the reason we had decided not to meet the interlocutors,” Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the chairman of the Hurriyat moderate faction, said. The Mirwaiz-led group has faced the anger of militants who are against talks with the Centre and are suspected to have carried out several attacks on its leaders in recent years. The Hurriyat moderates are against talks with New Delhi unless it meets four pre-conditions: demilitarisation, withdrawal of special powers to security forces, release of political prisoners and an end to rights abuses by troops. In line with the stand, they had boycotted the interlocutors and dubbed their visit futile. Ansari’s son Masroor, who is the Ittehadul chairman, acknowledged that his father had met the Delhi team but said it was not “pre-planned”. “They (the interlocutors) had called us an hour before and said they wanted to meet us. It was unexpected but we cannot shut our doors to anyone who wants to meet us,” Masroor said.