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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014

Modi's tough K-stand: Hurriyat members huddle in Srinagar

Peerzada Ashiq , Hindustan Times  Srinagar, August 23, 2014
First Published: 20:09 IST(23/8/2014) | Last Updated: 23:41 IST(24/8/2014)

Constituents of moderate Hurriyat on Saturday called an emergency meet in Srinagar to discuss New Delhi's recent decision to cancel foreign secretary talks with Pakistan.

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Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq convened a joint meeting of the executive council, general council and working committee members at Rajbagh locality in Srinagar.

Moderate Hurriyat is a conglomerate of around 13 separatist groups.

A Hurriyat spokesman said the meeting discussed the current political situation in the region.

"Especially against the backdrop of cancellation of the Indo-Pak foreign secretary-level talks," said the spokesman.

Meeting of separatists with Pakistan high commissioner Abdul Basit on August 18-19 led to the cancellation of foreign secretary-level talks by India.

"Participation of Kashmiris is inevitable for the success of any future dialogue over Kashmir," said the Mirwaiz while reiterating his stand that Kashmir is "principle" party of the dispute.

"Aspirations of people of Jammu and Kashmir should be respected since they were the primary stake holders to the Kashmir dispute. Avoiding them, no permanent solution to the vexed dispute could be arrived at," he added.

The Mirwaiz claimed that the envoy "assured him that Pakistan would always keep Kashmiri aspirations, emotions, and exemplary sacrifices paramount and would wholeheartedly make efforts to uphold the place of Kashmiris as the main stakeholders to the dispute".

Expressing regret and concern over calling off talks by the government, Mirwaiz said, "Such moves were contrary to the historic and political realities connected with the issue."

It was for the first time any government cancelled talks with Pakistan over meetings with separatists. This was not only departure from the past practice but  reflected Prime Minister Narendra Modi's toughening stand on Kashmir and hardening of posture towards separatists in Kashmir.

A Hurriyat spokesman said Saturday's meeting decided that keeping in view the changing political situation in India and Pakistan, Hurriyat would soon formulate its future strategy.

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