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Vajpayee refuses to meet Shabir Shah

Vajpayee refuses to meet Shabir Shah

Author: Our Political Bureau
Publication: The Economic Times
Date: August 30, 2002
Prime Minister AB Vajpayee today refused to give an audience to Kashmiri separatist leader Shabir Shah, close on the heels of a similar rebuff from deputy PM LK Advani.

The denial of an appointment to Mr Shah, the J&K Democratic Freedom Party leader, who is in the Capital to hold second round of talks with the Kashmir Committee, is only in keeping with the government's approach that it would talk to only those Kashmiri leaders who prove their representative character by getting elected in the coming Assembly polls.

That the government would enter into a dialogue with only the elected representatives of J&K was said by none other than Mr Vajpayee during his I-Day speech.

Disappointed with the PM's refusal to meet him, Mr Shah today reiterated that there was no question of his outfit participating in the coming J&K election. He had earlier indicated that if Mr Vajpayee held talks with him, he would consider contesting the polls to prove his representative character.

Mr Shah is now left with only the Kashmir Committee to talk to. He and eight other JKDFP leaders are meeting the panel headed by Ram Jethmalani for the second round of talks this evening. The Kashmir Committee will also meet the Hurriyat soon. However, the government has distanced itself from the Kashmir panel's initiative after realising that it was the latter's 'independent' character that made all the difference in getting 'difficult' parties like the Hurriyat to the negotiating table.

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