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Central & South Asia
Separatists reject Kashmir talks
Indian government's offer for talks turned down after weeks of violent protests.
Last Modified: 07 Aug 2010 19:38 GMT
 


Protests have continued since June
against Indian rule in Kashmir [AFP]

Moderate separatists in Indian-administered Kashmir have turned down an offer from the government to enter into fresh talks.

The decision on Saturday follows weeks of violent protests against the central government in the region, which have left 49 people dead.

The majority of those killed were young men and teenagers who were shot dead by the police. About 30 people have died in just over a week.

Demonstrations were ignited when a teenager was killed by a police tear-gas shell in June.

On Friday, P Chidambaram, the home minister, said that the government was ready to hold talks with the separatists in the Muslim-majority state.

The move was apparently made to ease tensions during the unrest.

'Basic right'

However, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, one of the leaders of the separatists who oppose Indian-rule in Kashmir, rejected the offer.

Farooq said that the current protests are in support of ending Indian rule of Kashmir.

"Where is the scope for engagement, when a reign of terror has been let loose by them against a people for demanding their basic right?" Farooq said.

He has previously entered into talks with the central government.

During those negotiations Farooq has asked for the removal of troops in the region and the release of political prisoners. However, he now says that those demands have not been met, undermining any potential talks.

A curfew in the area, imposed last week, was briefly lifted on Saturday in Srinagar, the main city.

Shops reportedly ran out of supplies during the two-hour break in the curfew as residents scrambled for goods.

Source:
Agencies
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