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Bhat favours talks with interlocutors

Deviating from the Kashmir separatists' stand against talks with the central interlocutors, former All Parties Hurriyat Conference chairman Abdul Ghani Bhat said on Thursday separatists should participate in the dialogue initiated by the Centre

india Updated: Jan 14, 2011 00:02 IST
Arun Joshi

Deviating from the Kashmir separatists' stand against talks with the central interlocutors, former All Parties Hurriyat Conference chairman Abdul Ghani Bhat said on Thursday separatists should participate in the dialogue initiated by the Centre

"We should be talking to everybody, like I am talking to you," Bhat, who was Hurriyat chairman from 2000 to 2002, said. "Why not," he said when asked if he referred to the three central interlocutors on Kashmir — Dileep Padgaonkar, Radha Kumar and MM Ansari. The appointment of the interlocutors was part of the Centre's eight-point formula to address problems the Valley.

Bhat, however, clarified that he was expressing his personal stand. "As a member of the Hurriyat Conference, I go by the Hurriyat Conference."

Both Hurriyat factions —the hardline wing led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani and the moderates led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq — have rejected talks with the interlocutors.

Bhat created a stir early this month when he said separatist leaders such as Mirwaiz Mohammad Farooq (in 1990) and Abdul Ghani Lone (in 2002) had been "killed by our own people", implying the militants.