Salman urges separatist leaders to participate in elections

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Srinagar, Dec 14 (UNI) Senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid today urged separatist leaders to participate in the assembly elections as ''history has witnessed that separatist have not benefited by staying away from the polls.'' Talking to reporters here today, Mr Khurshid, former foreign secretary, said that separatists have not benefited by staying away from the polls.

He said a democracy cannot flourish without the mass participation of people in the elections.

Mr Khurshid said apprehensions about malpractices in the poll process could be addressed. The Election Commission ensured free and fair polls in Uttar pradesh and Bihar where large-scale malpractices used to take place during the elections in the past he added.

About the stalled dialogue process between centre and the Hurriyat Conference (Mirwaiz), Mr Khurshid said separatists should not be upset.

He said it took years to decide the table for such a dialogue.

Mr Khurshid said zero tolerance to militantcy would be shown in the state as assured by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

He said he cannot go beyond what the Prime Minister has said on Human rights.

UNI

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