`Azadi` demand could be reference point in J-K talks: Lone

In the backdrop of the latest unrest in Kashmir, separatist leader Sajjad Lone Friday said demand for independence for the region could be the reference point for starting a dialogue with the Union Government.

Mumbai: In the backdrop of the latest unrest
in Kashmir, separatist leader Sajjad Lone today said demand for independence for the region could be the reference point for starting a dialogue with the Union Government.

"The reference point has to be an independent homeland.
Then you can have dialogues with the Union Government for
permanent peace," Lone, who in the city to appeal people to
oppose violence in Kashmir, told reporters here.

"You have to look at the expectations of the Kashmiri
people and the Indian Government should have intention to
deliver because old promises have not been honoured and peace
talks have been betrayed," he said.

Asked about the Kashmiri Pandits, who were forced to
leave the Valley, he said, "It was sad that they (Pandits) had
to leave. Everyone has to stay here. My father was killed but I didn`t opt to leave the place."

Lone felt that the withdrawal of the Army from Kashmir
would boost trust among people.

"If the military is removed from the civilian areas, it
would be a confidence building measure," he said.
Asked whether hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah
Geelani had been marginalised in the ongoing movement, Lone
replied in the negative. "I don`t think he (Geelani) was ever
marginalised," he said.

PTI

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