[QODLink]
Archive
Kashmir talks call for end to violence
The Indian government and a moderate faction of Kashmiri separatists have called for an end to violence in the troubled Himalayan region.
Last Modified: 22 Jan 2004 20:31 GMT
Deputy PM Advani(L) met with separatist leaders in Delhi
The Indian government and a moderate faction of Kashmiri separatists have called for an end to violence in the troubled Himalayan region.

At the end of a historic meeting on Thursday, Indian Deputy Prime Minister L.K.Advani and the five separatist leaders of the All Party Hurriyat Conference agreed that violence must stop if the Kashmir issue is to be resolved.

"It was agreed that the only way forward is to ensure that all forms of violence at all levels should come to an end," said a joint statement issued after the two-and-a-half hours meeting.

The five separatist leaders are to meet the Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee on Friday.

They represent only a faction of the All Party Hurriyat Conference –a conglomerate of 23 separatist Kashmiri parties.

Ice broken

The meeting –the first between the government and the separatists in years- broke some new ground with Advani promising a fresh look into Hurriyat's long-standing demands.

The deputy prime minister promised a rapid review of the demand for the release of political prisoners in Kashmir.

"I have said that cases of prisoners would be reviewed. Those accused of heinous crimes would not be considered but others, yes," Advani said.

The meeting came amid a recent thaw in relations between India and Pakistan – neighbours who have historically been at loggerheads over the contentious issue of Kashmir.

Window of opportunity

Experts say the improving ties have opened up a "window of opportunity" for resolving the Kashmir dispute.

With separatist groups seeking the region's independence from Indian rule, the Kashmir conflict has dragged on for decades, triggering an unremitting cycle of violence that has killed 38,000 people since 1989.

India accuses Pakistan of fomenting trouble in Kashmir. Pakistan denies the charge, saying it only extends moral support to the "freedom struggle" in the disputed territory.

But the day's meeting evoked hostile reaction from more hardline sections of the separatists.

"It has been a total flop show. Nothing has emerged out of these talks," hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Geelani said.

Geelani is among the hardliners who boycotted the talks.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Swathes of the British electorate continue to show discontent with all things European, including immigration.
Astronomers have captured images of primordial galaxies that helped light up the cosmos after the Big Bang.
Critics assail British photographer's portrayal of indigenous people, but he says he's highlighting their plight.
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
Featured
No one convicted after 58 people gunned down in cold blood in 2009 in the country's worst political mass killing.
While hosting the World Internet Conference, China tries Tiananmen activist for leaking 'state secrets' to US website.
Once staunchly anti-immigrant, some observers say the conservative US state could lead the way in documenting migrants.
NGOs say women without formal documentation are being imprisoned after giving birth in Malaysia.
Public stripping and assault of woman and rival protests thereafter highlight Kenya's gender-relations divide.