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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Sep 2014

Kashmir separatists say India’s decision to call off talks 'unfortunate'

Peerzada Ashiq, Hindustan Times  Srinagar, August 18, 2014
First Published: 21:03 IST(18/8/2014) | Last Updated: 13:16 IST(19/8/2014)

Kashmiri separatists on Monday slammed the government’s decision to call off foreign secretary-level talks with Pakistan, saying it indicated the NDA was not serious about resolving the Kashmir issue.

India called off the talks scheduled for August 25 after the Pakistani high commissioner met separatist leader Shabbir Shah in the first of a series of meetings planned over three days. New Delhi said Islamabad’s decision to hold talks with Kashmiri separatists was an “unacceptable” interference in India’s internal affairs.

“This is an indicator that (Prime Minister) Modi, backed by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, is not interested to resolve the Kashmir issue or any issue with Pakistan,” said Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front chief Yasin Malik, adding that the government’s decision was unfortunate.

Hardline Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Geelani said it was a routine exercise by Pakistan to hold deliberations with the Kashmiri leadership. “The hue and cry of Indian politicians over the invitation by the Pakistan envoy was unwanted and politically immature,” he said, adding that such meetings were also held during the previous UPA regime.

“If India is sincere about making relations better with Pakistan then she has to address the demands of the Kashmiri people,” said Geelani. “Otherwise all these parleys are meaningless.”

Moderate Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq hit out at the Congress for opposing the talks.

“The Congress hue and cry over the meeting of Kashmir leadership with the high commissioner of Pakistan in New Delhi once again proved it was never serious about finding a solution to the Kashmir issue,” he said.

He added a meaningful dialogue process should remain the priority for the establishment of a violence-free South Asia.

“The leadership of Hurriyat since its formation has participated in talks with the leadership of both India and Pakistan (including the Congress) from time-to-time with the sole purpose of finding a mutually acceptable and honourable solution of the Kashmir issue,” said Mirwaiz, who was scheduled to meet the Pakistan high commissioner in Delhi on August 19.

In Delhi, the Congress, which had questioned the move, said the government needed to explain why it decided to have talks with Pakistan in the first place. "The Modi government has no policy on Pakistan," said party spokesman Manish Tewari.

His colleague, Amarinder Sing,h said the Modi government had not done its homework before proceeding with talks with Pakistan.


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