For the first time since 2006, the government will resume talks with Kashmir’s separatist leaders in end-October.
Reduction of troops in the Valley and phased withdrawal of the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act, both longstanding demands of the separatists, are among the concessions it may make.
Across the table with Home Minister P Chidambaram will be Hurriyat Conference (moderate faction) chief Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Yasin Malik and Sajjad Lone of the People’s Conference.
Discussions will include the government’s earlier promise to discuss with Pakistan the return of more than 3,000 Kashmiri youth who had gone to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir in the ’90s for weapons training, a government official told HT.
In August, HT was the first to report resumption of talks. More than 40,000 people have died in Kashmir since 1989, when the anti-India insurgency began.