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"Advani Should Spell Out What He Means"

As senior executive member of the All Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC), Mirwaiz Umer Farooq maintains that his organisation’s stand has been vindicated by the recent turn of events. Excerpts from an interview with Murali Krishnan:

"Advani Should Spell Out What He Means"
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Autonomy has been denied, what now?
The mindset of New Delhi politicians has been exposed. We can’t trust them. Their offer of talks and dialogue is meaningless when they don’t honour basic obligations.

What is the Hurriyat’s agenda now? Will you be part of any negotiations with the Union government?
Our plan remains unchanged. The Indian government doesn’t recognise the fact that Kashmir is disputed territory, it doesn’t recognise the problem of Azad Kashmir. But despite this position, we are willing to enter into a dialogue. But there has been no offer from the other side. When L K Advani talks of unconditional talks within the framework of the Indian Constitution, we want to know exactly what he means. It has to be spelt out. Let them (the Centre) take the initiative.

Has the rejection strengthened your position on azadi?
We will continue with our movement and on that there is no looking back. The APHC is the actual voice of the people but New Delhi has imposed severe restrictions on our activities. Send the security forces to their barracks and allow us to operate freely, and you can see how the Kashmiris will respond.

Surely, the Centre won’t accept your demands, there will have to be a middle road?
Let New Delhi take the first step. But considering they have let down their own person (Farooq Abdullah), we sincerely doubt its sincerity. The world is watching how the BJP-led government is handling the Kashmir imbroglio. It stands exposed and its credibility is at stake. Some of its own party spokespersons are now claiming that Farooq doesn’t enjoy political legitimacy and that he won the assembly elections by rigging. Isn’t that what we said in 1996?

Is it true that your private positions are less rigid than your public stand?
Who said that? That is not true. All of us are together. We are willing to talk but the offer has to come and it has to be genuine. But we seriously doubt that.

What is Farooq Abdullah’s fate now?
He is a discredited man. But he will take this humiliation as if nothing has happened.

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