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All-party team divided over meeting Kashmiri separatists?

Last Updated: Tuesday, September 21, 2010 - 12:45

Srinagar: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Sushma Swaraj, who is part of the all-party delegation on a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir, said Tuesday that the decision to meet separatist leaders in the Valley in groups was not a collective one.

The Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha said the matter was not discussed at the meeting of the delegation, led by Home Minister P Chidambaram.

She told reporters here that some delegates had "expressed the desire" to meet the separatist leaders.

The BJP leader however said there was no question of division in the delegation on the issue of meeting the separatists.

"Some of the people in the delegation expressed the desire to meet them (separatists). Anyone can go individually. No one can stop them," she said.

She replied in the negative when asked whether there was a mandate to meet the separatists.

"No, no, it was not a mandate. It was not discussed in the delegation. Some of the members expressed their desire to go there. Naturally the delegation leader said you can go," she said. The 42-member delegation is headed by Union Home Minister P Chidambaram.

After Hurriyat leaders Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) refused to meet the all-party delegation that flew in from New Delhi, the visiting politicians broke into small groups and met the three prominent faces of the two decades old separatist movement.

Meanwhile, another important member of the delegation, Sitaram Yechury of the CPI(M) – who had called on Geelani yesterday – said that there was “consensus” on meeting the separatists.

First Published: Tuesday, September 21, 2010 - 12:45

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