MUFTI TALKS PLEA TO PM 

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By FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
  • Published 11.02.00
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New Delhi, Feb. 11 :     Concerned about the Kashmir situation, former Union minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed today urged Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee to initiate talks with local militants as the Farooq Abdullah government had become "non-existent". The leader of the Jammu and Kashmir People's Democratic Party claimed that some separatists were interested in a "meaningful" dialogue with the Central government. Since the Prime Minister was keen to end the "unending violence" in the state, he should take a "personal initiative" to restore normalcy, Mufti said, adding, "If he does, I am confident that genuine representatives of the people of the state will respond." Opposing tough postures and greater involvement of armed forces, Mufti urged all sides to exercise restraint. "Reconciliation is essential for ending militancy," he said. Pointing out that people of the valley had got alienated as they were denied basic democratic rights, Mufti stressed that the Kashmir problem should be viewed "politically".