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'Talks with leaders before Srinagar roundtable'

Written by: Staff

Jammu, Apr 4: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has decided to hold talks with representatives of various political parties in the state before the second phase of roundtable conference in Srinagar in May this summer.

Sources also said the Chief Minister has determined to sit with MLAs and MLCs before the second roundtable conclave with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to resolve the long-standing Kashmir issue.

During closing ceremony of state Legislative Council on April 1, Mr Azad had declared that after by-election for four assembly segments in the state, he would call a meeting of representatives in Srinagar before the roundtable conference.

The Chief Minister has already appealed to all political parties and outfits to participate in the roundtable conference terming it as a golden and historic opportunity for the Kashmiri people to reach any positive conclusion and they must take advantage of ''peace process'' started by the central government.

''There was a major shift in the policy and attitude of Pakistan leadership towards the Kashmir issue and it was a success for all who were concerned with the Kashmir situation. Therefore, in the atmosphere of confidence building measures (CBMs), the Srinagar roundtable conference would be a convenient time for achieving everlasting peace in the valley,'' an official said.

Mr Azad, in almost every public fora was appealing to the 'misguided youth of the Valley' to put the gun away and take part in his re-construction mission of Jammu and Kashmir because the time has come to end violence in all forms.

While advising misguided people he said, ''The turmoil lasting for 16 years has created a group of people with vested interests, eager to keep the pot of violence boiling but the percentage of such people has reduced considerably.'' Sources said in a goodwill gesture the state government has released 40 detenues out of 403 and many others may be released in future.


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