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Hawks failed J&K talks: Shabir

Separatist leader Shabir Shah alleged that hawks in the Union Government had sabotaged a serious effort to resolve the Kashmir issue.

india Updated: Sep 02, 2002 02:27 IST
Sumir Kaul (PTI)
Sumir Kaul (PTI)

Sounding critical of the decision of Prime Minister AtalBihariVajpayee and Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani of not meeting him, Kashmiri separatist leader Shabir Shah on Sunday said hawks in the Union government had sabotaged a "serious effort" to resolve Kashmir issue.

"We have been neither against the democratic process nor we are scared of fighting elections. But mere change of government is not our motive, we want to resolve Kashmir issue," Shah, who has been camping in the national capital meeting various leaders, said.

Shah said some of the "hawks in the government had managed to put impediments not only in his path but also in the path of Kashmir Committee led by Ram Jethmalani whom Kashmiris see as their friends."

"What is the policy of the government vis-à-vis Kashmir is not known to us. First, they invite separatist leaders for talks through the Kashmir Committee and then back out," Shah said.

Shah flayed statements of BJP accusing Congress chief Sonia Gandhi of attempting to sabotage the Kashmir peace process saying "BJP today stands exposed in the eyes of public for not being sincere in resolving the Kashmir issue."

The BJP had reportedly blamed Sonia Gandhi for the change of statement by Shah of not participating in the polls. The separatist leader had earlier agreed "in principle" to participate in the elections.

"Qayyum is of the view that violence has no role to play in solution to the Kashmir problem and that dialogue should continue," Shah said.

He expressed hope that the dialogue process would continue and "some better sense will prevail so that the issue could be resolved."

While criticising the Centre, Shah said, "Now my stand is crystal clear and the ball is in the Centre's court and it is for it to take a decision on the seven confidence-building measures specified by my party."

"We are not asking for anything which cannot be done and we hope that doves in the Central leadership will emerge victorious," he said.

He said it was indeed "unfortunate" that the Centre had even refused to listen to the Committee's suggestions.

First Published: Sep 02, 2002 01:30 IST