The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mirwaiz passport suspended

Srinagar/New Delhi, Jan. 9: The Centre has put Mirwaiz Omar Farooq on notice against overseas travel for four weeks, his separatist outfit, the Awami Action Committee, has said.

Mirwaiz was planning to go to Dubai when the notice landed at his Delhi home, saying bluntly his activities overseas were not in the nation’s interests.

The Centre’s passport suspension and refusal to let Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Yasin Malik go abroad for treatment indicate a hardening stand against Kashmiri leaders refusing to play ball.

Reportedly, the Centre may impound the passports of Malik and jailed People’s League chief Sheikh Abdul Aziz next.

Mirwaiz, till recently a Delhi favourite, fell out of favour after he refused to participate in last year’s Jammu and Kashmir polls.

“Mirwaiz campaigned hard to ensure his supporters did not go out to vote. Why should we continue to mollycoddle him'” a government official said.

Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani’s statement that the Centre is in no mood to talk to Pakistan’s proxies points to its readiness to bypass the All-Parties Hurriyat Conference.

The Centre now wants to deal with the people’s elected representatives, who contested the polls under the shadow of militant guns.

As for Malik, who is now at a private nursing home in Delhi with a kidney ailment, he was among the first batch of detainees set free after the Mufti Mohammad Sayeed government came to power in Jammu and Kashmir.

By then, Malik’s passport had expired and he wanted it renewed to travel to the US. “We saw no reason why he should go to the US for treatment. There are medical facilities available here,” a North Block official said.

“The last time he was in the US for treatment, he spent most of his time at political meetings and in anti India propaganda.”

According to a government official, “our first priority is to begin a dialogue with these (elected representatives) sections. We will later talk to those who have not contested. But that won’t be now...we are also considering talking to militant groups who want to come in from the cold”.

Many at the Centre do not agree with cold-shouldering the Hurriyat and advocate an all-encompassing approach to carry along all sorts of Kashmiri opinions.

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