NEW DELHI, Feb. 2. — A day after Dr Manmohan Singh’s assertion that his doors are open for talks with separatist Kashmiri leaders of all groups, the Centre today indicated that the Prime Minister would meet the JKLF chief, Mr Yaseen Malik, and others in coming days to broadbase talks on the Kashmir issue.
Following Dr Singh’s reference yesterday to his separate meetings in recent months with the Mirwaiz Umer-led Hurriyat Conference, the Sajjad Lone-led People’s Conference and Mr Yaseen Malik, Mr Malik today held a press conference in Srinagar to deny that he had any meeting with the PM ever, not even “secretly”, saying such reports were totally baseless. Mr Malik, however, said the JKLF was not against a dialogue on the Kashmir issue, adding he would consult his colleagues as and when an invitation to meet Dr Manmohan Singh came.
Clarifying the PM’s statement, his media advisor, Mr Sanjaya Baru, said: “It’s possible that Dr Singh may meet Malik and other leaders whom he has not yet met in the capacity of a Prime Minister in future.” “This reference (to meeting Malik) is to his meetings with various representatives of groups in Kashmir including Malik before he became the Prime Minister,” he said. — SNS