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Indian civil society group meets Hurriyat leaders; Advocates flexibility in stakeholders for dialogue

SRINAGAR, Aug 26: A prominent civil society group in India on Sunday asked seperatists and the Government of India to initiate a dialogue for resolution of the Kashmir issue.
The group, ‘Centre for Peace and Progress’, led by its Chairman, O P Shah, has been in Kashmir for the past several days, advocating Indo-Pak talks and dialogue with the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
Shah, a noted political analyst and Track II diplomat, met with Hurriyat Conference (M) Chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.
“We have always been in support of the dialogue process. I met Mirwaiz Sahab and told him there has to be a dialogue process between GoI and Hurriyat,” Shah told The Kashmir Monitor.
“Mirwaiz told me that they (Hurriyat) were not against the dialogue. We believe that there has to be a flexible approach from the government side as well as Hurriyat people to initiate the dialogue process.”
Asked whether he would meet other Hurriyat leaders, he replied, “We may meet Geelani Sahab and Yasin Malik on Monday. We will also meet other people.”
The former Track II diplomat also met Zamruda Habib and Dr Bilques Shah, wife of incarnated Hurriyat leader Shabir Ahmad Shah.
Shah along with Kapil Kak, who is a former Air Vice-Marshal, were scheduled to meet GOC 15 Corps Srinagar in the evening.
“We will discuss with him the overall situation in the Valley,” Shah said.
In April this year, he met Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Professor Abdul Gani Bhat and mainstream leaders Dr Farooq Abdullah and M Y Tarigami after his return from Pakistan where he met civil society members and politicians.
On Saturday, the group organised a conference titled ‘Discussion on Jammu and Kashmir and Indo-Pak relations’ at a local hotel here.
In the conference, leaders of several mainstream parties, civil society groups, advocated for Indo-Pak talks and with people of Jammu and Kashmir.
Senior Congress leader and former union minister Mani Shankar Aiyar in the conference came out in support of Article 35 A.
“Article 35 A is in the interest of the nation. It should not be touched. Nobody should make any effort for its abrogation,” Aiyar said.
The senior Congress leader also advocated engagement of Hurriyat in the dialogue process.
“If anybody wants to be separated, they have to be engaged in dialogue. In the last one year, we visited Kashmir and met Hurriyat leaders. Even Mohammad Yasin Malik said he will meet us in New Delhi,” he said.