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Let Govt be serious and sincere: Umar Farooq

The dialogue between Hurriyat and PM comes ahead of his talks with Pakistani President.

india Updated: Sep 28, 2005 16:33 IST

Hurriyat leaders headed into peace talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday, seeking trust and an easing of military controls in Kashmir.

The dialogue between the All Parties Hurriyat Conference and Manmohan Singh -- the first since a Congress-party led coalition took power last year -- comes ahead of the Prime Minister's talks with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf next week.

"We feel that the Government of India has to show seriousness and sincerity," Hurriyat's chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, said ahead of the meeting in New Delhi. "It is important to build trust."

Farooq, 34, who will lead a five-member Hurriyat team at the dialogue, said the alliance would reiterate its demand for trilateral negotiations involving New Delhi, Islamabad and Kashmiris to resolve the Kashmir dispute.

It would also seek the lifting of tough security laws that give troops sweeping powers to detain and interrogate in Kashmir.

"There should be some perceptible change, visible change, so that people really feel the benefits of the peace process," Farooq said.

Hurriyat bands about two-dozen Kashmiri political groups, some of them seeking independence and others greater autonomy.

On September 14, Singh will meet Musharraf on the sidelines of the UN summit of world leaders in New York to push the peace process forward.

Hurriyat held talks with New Delhi for the first time in 2003. But the negotiations broke down after Congress came to power last year and insisted the dialogue should be held within the Indian constitution, which states Kashmir is an integral part of the country -- a position Hurriyat rejects.

This time, the Hurriyat says it is more optimistic.

"We have no conditions from our side and they (New Delhi) have no conditions this time," Farooq said.

First Published: Sep 05, 2005 15:44 IST