Separatists not shying away from talks: Shabir Shah

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

SRINAGAR - Kashmiri separatists were not shying away from dialogue and steps like troop withdrawal and repeal of “draconian laws” were needed to make the negotiations more meaningful, Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) chairman Shabir Shah said Wednesday.

“We are not shying away from the dialogue process. It is a wrong notion being created by New Delhi. All we want is that the dialogue is held in a conducive atmosphere for a purposeful outcome,” Shah told a news conference here.

“To make the atmosphere conducive, troop withdrawal, repeal of draconian laws, release of political detenues and penalising those involved in human rights violations are critical,” he said.

Shah also favoured tri-partite talks, saying that “bilateral talks have failed to solve the Kashmir problem”.

The DFP chairman also said that New Delhi “should listen to what its own interlocutors have been saying on the issue”.

“Dileep Padgaonkar says Kashmir is disputed and Radha Kumar said freedom sentiment is deep among the people in Kashmir while M.M. Ansari said that New Delhi was serious about the issue. In this situation, I think it is better for New Delhi to hold a referendum to know the people’s mind,” he added.

Meanwhile, the interlocutors met the opposition Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti here Wednesday evening.

The panel, led by noted journalist Dileep Padgaonkar, arrived here Wednesday afternoon from Jammu.

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