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Separatist Lone gets invite to meet PM on Jan 14

People's Conference has been invited for talks, even as the Hurriyat Conference waits for an invitation for a second round of talks with the Centre.

india Updated: Jan 14, 2006 11:06 IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has invited the People's Conference for talks in Delhi on January 14, even as the Hurriyat Conference waits for an invitation for a second round of talks with the Centre.

People's Conference chairman Sajjad Lone, who operates independent of the moderate faction of the Hurriyat Conference, told HT his group has been invited by the PMO for talks with the PM at around 7.30 pm on Saturday. "We welcome this step," he said, conscious of the fact that his is the only group other than the Hurriyat to be called for talks.

The Prime Minister said in Delhi that the Government's doors were open for anybody who shuns violence and wants a durable and peaceful resolution of the Kashmir problem. "I would be happy to meet them," Singh said on the sidelines of a book-release function.

Lone said a five-member team would be selected by vice-chairman Bashir Ali. He was clear about the agenda for the talks: "It will be full of Kashmir-centric inputs without any adulteration." An obvious dig at the Hurriyat, which is often seen as speaking the language of Islamabad while talking to the Centre.

"For me, the process is important. I'm not looking for instant results. If a process of dialogue can replace the cult of violence and guns, there can be nothing better than that," Lone said.

Sources said another group that is on the list for talks is Shabir Shah's Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party. Enough hints in this regard were dropped by Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad when he said the Centre would hold talks with a whole range of separatists and other groups to push forward the dialogue process.

The Government's decision to enlarge the ambit of the talks is likely to delay the second round of talks with the Hurriyat, which has been pressing hard for a second meeting with the PM.

First Published: Jan 14, 2006 11:06 IST