Geelani May Push Hurriyat For Talks If Govt Makes Offer

Geelani May Push Hurriyat For Talks If Govt Makes Offer

18 October 2011
Times of India
M. Saleem Pandit

Srinagar: Pro-Pakistan Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani has surprisingly come to express his willingness to hold talks with the Centre over Kashmir issue. The hardliner separatist told TOI that he would seek the consent of his colleagues in the advisory committee if the Centre extended an offer for talks. Geelani is the chairman of Hurriyat Conference (G). The official interlocutors on Kashmir, Dileep Padgoangar, Radha Kumar and M M Ansari in their report , have recommended and advised the centre to re-start dialogue with Kashmiri separatist leaders and particularly with the hawkish Geelani. Interestingly, the separatist leaders refused to meet the interlocutors during their 22 visits to the state in last one year. The reports emanating from New Delhi suggest that the centre is formulating the means and ways to open up dialogue with the separatist camp in Kashmir. Responding to these rumours, Syed Ali Shah Geelani said that India should first accept his four demands- acknowledgement of Kashmir as an international dispute, demilitarization Jammu and Kashmir, revocation of draconian laws like AFSPA, Public Safety Act etc., release of political prisoners and prosecution of security forces responsible for the killing of over 100 people last summer. Sources in New Delhi indicated that centre was contemplating to open dialogue but after holding all party meet to discuss the interlocutors' report . The interlocutors, according to reports, have recommended revocation of armed forces special powers Act (AFSPA) from various parts of Jammu and Kashmir. If the centre accepts this recommendation, it would satisfy one of the demands of Geelani and probably force him to consider talks with the centre. But the chances of Geelani holding talks with the centre 'are remote given his hardline attitude,' said a separatist leader of moderate Hurriyat Conference.


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