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Hurriyat suspends Ansari for meeting interlocutors

Wednesday April 20, 2011 10:06:35 PM, IANS

Srinagar: The moderate Hurriyat group led by Mirwaiz Umer Farooq suspended its senior leader Molvi Abbas Ansari from the separatist conglomerate taking strong exception to his meeting the three central government-appointed interlocutors here Wednesday.

A press release issued here by the Mirwaiz Hurriyat group Wednesday evening said Molvi Abbas Ansari violated party discipline by meeting the interlocutors as was disclosed by them at a media conference.

The press release said Ansari's meeting was a clear violation of the collective decision taken by the moderate Hurriyat that none of its leaders would meet the central interlocutors.

The statement said the group's chairman, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, had suspended Ansari from the conglomerate and asked him to explain his conduct at the next meeting of the Hurriyat executive.

Ansari has also issued a statement here saying that he was surprised when the three interlocutors -- senior journalist Dileep Padgaonkar, academician Radha Kumar and senior bureaucrat M.M. Ansari -- arrived at his residence Wednesday morning without prior intimation.

"In line with the traditional Kashmiri hospitality, I served tea to the three interlocutors. They stayed with me for barely twenty minutes during which I explained to them that I could not engage in any dialogue or discussion with them as it had been decided by our group that none of our leaders would interact with the interlocutors," Ansari said in his defence.

Ansari represents the Shia Ittehadul Muslimeen group in the moderate Hurriyat led by the Mirwaiz and has also been the Hurriyat chairman in the past.

At a press conference called by the three interlocuters earlier Wednesday, Padgaonkar said they had "an hour-long discussion with Ansari during which he said he favoured talks with the government of India" to arrive at peaceful settlement in Jammu and Kashmir.

"He stressed that such a dialogue must be held at the appropriate forum and India must take confidence building measures based on the four points already put forward by the Mirwaiz-led Hurriyat group," Padgonkar added.

The Mirwaiz-led Hurriyat group had put forth four points to create a congenial atmosphere in Kashmir. These include release of political prisoners and youth, revoking the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and gradual demilitarisation.

Padgaonkar said the deliberations at the two-day-long round table deliberations held here focused mainly on devolution of powers to the state government, restoration of the pre-1953 status, and the significance of maintaining the regional unity of the state comprising its three regions of Jammu, Ladakh and the Valley.

"There was a consensus among those who spoke at the round table that J&K must become a free economic zone, allowing opening of all road links between its parts divided between India and Pakistan, the necessity for continued people-to-people contact and reducing the footprints of the security forces whose presence gave one to believe India was represented in Kashmir by just the security forces," he said.

The interlocutors also said that Jammu and Kashmir needed to be compensated for its water resources, whose use had been limited because of the signing of the Indus Water Treaty between India and Pakistan.

Radha Kumar said the interlocutors had met around 450 delegations during the course of their visits to the three regions of the state.








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