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National Conference not to take part in working group meet

National Conference President said that his party will not be taking part in the second meeting of the working group on the Centre-State relations, reports Arun Joshi.

india Updated: Feb 02, 2007 14:51 IST
Arun Joshi

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 ofa judicial probe into the incidents of custodial killings has not satisfiedNC, 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 faciecase. The officers responsible for this should be arrested.”

National Conference had taken part in the two round table conferences on Kashmirand taken part in theworking 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.

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First Published: Feb 02, 2007 14:51 IST