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Hurriyat may not be part of conference

By Onkar Singh in New Delhi
May 13, 2006 10:27 IST
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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will travel to Srinagar on May 25 to hold the second round table conference with Jammu and Kashmir political parties and other social and culltural organisations. It is not yet known whether he will make a one-day visit to the city or stay on.

Major political parties in Jammu and Kashmir, including the organisations representing the Kashmiri Pandits, are likely to be present at the meeting.

However, the All Party Hurriyat Conference is unlikely to participate in the round table discussions. Mirwaiz Umer Farooq had told a foreign radio network that no purpose would be achieved by participating in the discussions; he referred to other parties as a crowd.

Speaking to over the phone from Srinagar, Abdul Ghani Bhat, former chairman of the APHC and member of the executive committee, said as head of the organisation Mirwaiz had the right to express his opinion but no final decision has been taken as yet.

"After we met Dr  Singh in New Delhi there has been no meeting of the APHC to discuss issues like participating in the round table conference. We will be meeting next week and the executive, general council and the working committee will take a decision. It is also possible that the issue may not figure in the discussions at all," he said.

Though Bhat does not directly support Mirwaiz, he did imply that when the prime minister reaches Kashmir, the Hurriyat would not be among the welcoming party.

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Onkar Singh in New Delhi