UJC ready to talk, sets conditions

Srinagar, May 25: Day after Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh made a conditional offer of talks to the separatists in Jammu and Kashmir, the militant conglomerate United Jehad Council, in a significant move, while expressing willingness to join the parleys for resolution of Kashmir issue set its own preconditions for any such talks.
Reacting to the Prime Minster’s offer, UJC spokesperson Syed Sadaqat Hussain, in a statement issued from Pakistan administered Kashmir (Pak) capital Muzaffarabad, said the militant leadership was ready to join tripartite talks if Government of India accepts Kashmir as a dispute and initiates confidence building measures including revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and Public Safety Act (PSA), release of political detainees and curbing all kinds of human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir. “If Dr Manmohan Singh is sincere on initiating meaningful talks with militant leadership, he must take these initiatives to set the process in motion,” he said and added that the Government of India must realize that the bilateral efforts made in the past have proved futile due to the absence of the real Kashmiri representatives in such initiatives.
Hussain said India’s stubborn attitude towards Kashmir issue has always been an impediment in the meaningful talks.
UJC spokesman said there should be no precondition of asking militants to lay down arms before entering into any parleys. “If the talks process (with militant leadership) is initiated in good faith and with a sincerity of purpose and it makes headway towards the resolution of the issue, the militant activities would cease on their own,” he said and added that there are instances of conflict areas like Vietnam and Afghanistan where armed struggle and talks went on side by side.
Pertinently, Dr Manmohan Singh had at a press conference in Delhi on Monday said that his government was ready to hold dialogue with all groups in Jammu and Kashmir “which are outside the political mainstream provided they shun violence.”
“I would once again like to appeal to all elements in Jammu and Kashmir that our government is ready for a dialogue provided all these groups which are outside the political mainstream shed the path of violence,” Dr Singh had said, apparently addressing the militants operating in Jammu and Kashmir.
The statement came ahead of Dr Singh’s visit to Jammu and Kashmir scheduled for June 7 and 8.
In place to mention that the then chief commander of Hizbul Mujahideen Majid Dar had in July 2000 declared a unilateral cease-fire. After declaring the cease-fire Hizb insisted that the Government of India must explicitly state within a two-week time frame that Kashmir is a disputed territory and tripartite discussions including Pakistan in addition to India and Kashmir representatives begin immediately in order to address the problem.
The cease-fire collapsed after two rounds of talks in Srinagar and Dar was killed by unidentified gunmen on 23 March 2003 at Sopur.
Another initiative was taken by the Government of India by declaring a unilateral cease-fire in Jammu and Kashmir on 19 November 2000 in view of the holy month of Ramadhan. The ceasefire was initiated by the then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. comments