Ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Kashmir, separatists in the valley are divided over talks with the Centre as moderate Hurriyat leaders say he should unveil a firm policy on the vexed issue while militants and hardliners oppose any dialogue.

The two sides are divided on the strike called by hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani on October 18 when Dr. Singh is to commence his two-day visit of the state. The hardliners are opposed to any kind of dialogue with the government.

Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, who had expressed readiness for unconditional talks with India and Pakistan, said Hurriyat believes only dialogue can solve the Kashmir issue and looks forward for talks with India and Pakistan.

He insisted that the Prime Minister come with a firm policy on Kashmir. “Singh should reach with a concrete Kashmir policy and not with traditional packages and politicking“.

The Mirwaiz said he expects Dr. Singh to visit with a clear mind and will to resolve Kashmir issue in accordance with the aspirations of Kashmiris. “I hope Singh’s visit would be a beginning of a result-oriented dialogue with Kashmiris and Pakistan for resolution” of the issue, he said.

The PDP patron and former chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed cautioned the Centre against using “pick and choose” policy while initiating a dialogue with separatist groups.

“Unconditional dialogue should be started with all sections of the society including all factions of Hurriyat conference for amicable solution of Kashmir problem”, he said.

“The Centre should come out with a positive attitude to initiate dialogue with Pakistan and Kashmiri leaders. There is need for resumption of dialogue at the highest level to take the peace process ahead”, he said.

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