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National Conference not to take part in working group meet

india Updated: Feb 02, 2007 14:51 IST
Arun Joshi
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National Conference President Omar Abdullah said that his party will not be taking part in the second meeting of the working group on the Centre-State relations being held in Jammu on Saturday as the "human rights violations" were continuing in the State."

His arch political rival PDP president Mehbooba Mufti too is not attending the meeting. She has embarked on a tour of the border districts of Rajouri and Poonch  along with the top leadership of her party . She has  deputed "Muzzaffar Hussain Baig, as per communication sent to the government.

Talking to Hindustan Times on the eve of the working group meeting, Omar Abdullah said that "there was no question of our joining the working group meetings as our concerns have not been fully met." He was seriously concerned over the recurring incidents of custodial killings.

"With Abdul Rehman Padroo’s body having been exhumed on Thursday and Friday another being exhumed on Friday, our worst fears about the human rights violations have come true.  In such a situation, we cannot take part in the working groups  and damage our credibility to lend credibility to others."

Although few days ago, his father and National Conference patron Farooq Abdullah had stated that the party would rejoin the working groups’ deliberations.

Omar said that the recent incidents of "custodial disappearances and killings have impacted  our decision”. “ In these circumstances, it is very difficult for us to rejoin the ( working group) deliberations.”

Asked if  Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad’s announcement of a judicial probe into the  incidents of custodial killings  has  not satisfied NC, Omar Abdullah replied: "It is not a question of  satisfied or dissatisfied, but a larger issue  of the human rights is  tackled. We want the  Human  Rights violations to stop.”

"In case of Abdul Rehman Padroo of Larnoo ( Kokkernag, Anantnag), it is a prima facie case. The officers responsible for this should be arrested.”

National Conference had taken part in the  two round table conferences on Kashmir and taken part in the working groups, but a custodial killing in Budgam in September last year  proved a flashpoint. Omar announced suspension of the party from  working group deliberations.

Prime Minister  Manmohan Singh and Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad had  invited Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah to their meetings met the NC leaders- Farooq Abdullah and tried to persuade them. On Sunday, Farooq Abdullah had declared that the NC would sit in the  meetings, but on the same evening the cases of the custodial killings surfaced.

That, NC president said has made the party to "keep off" the working groups.

But all other political groups  will take part in the deliberations.

Email Arun Joshi: a_joshi957@rediffmail.com

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