Congress says New Delhi sincere about resolving Kashmir issue

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Srinagar, Oct 20 (ANI): Congress MP and President Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee Saifuddin Soz has said that India is sincere about resolving the decades old Kashmir issue.

Addressing a convention of party-workers here on Monday, Soz said that the Central government has recently offered to renew dialogue with the separatists.

"Guns and strikes have damaged Kashmir a lot, dialogue is the only way forward. Recently Home Minister Chidambaram also came here in my absence, he went to Congress office and spoke about political matters and mentioned about dialogue. I feel that Central Government is very serious about this," Soz said.

"Prime Minister Manmohan and Congress President Sonia Gandhi want that issues of Kashmir should be resolved. People should tell what they want. Dialogue process is in progress. I am not sure which of the separatist leaders would participate, but they should go and talk to Prime Minister and raise people's issues, should express their views. Dialogue is the only way out," said Soz.

Moderate faction of All Parties Hurriyat (Freedom) Conference (APHC), the main political separatist alliance in Indian Kashmir, held talks with New Delhi in 2004, the first between the two sides militancy began in 1989. More than 47,000 people are estimated to have been killed.

The latest round of Kashmir talks was held in May 2006. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Hurriyat agreed then to establish a system to discuss solutions to the Kashmir dispute.

Around half a million Indian troops are deployed in Kashmir, India's only Muslim-majority state.

Clashes between militants and troops has declined considerably in Kashmir after India and Pakistan started a peace process in 2004. India called a pause to those talks after last year's Mumbai terror attacks. (ANI)

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