Srinagar: The Centre's three interlocutors made their first contact with the moderate Hurriyat Conference in Jammu & Kashmir. The trio met the conglomerate's former chairman and Shia heavyweight Maulana Abbas Ansari. But whether or not Ansari had the endorsement of the current chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, he did take up the Hurriyat's four-point formula with the panel.
Kashmir interlocutors head Dileep Padgoankar had commented, "We have met Maulana Abbas Ansari and during his meeting he raised the four-point formula. It is a success and we are hoping we meet the Mirwaiz too."
But minutes after the Kashmir interlocutors said they have made a major breakthrough by actually speaking to Maulana Abbas Ansari, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Hurriyat chairman, said he has put Ittehadul Muslimeen to which Ansari belongs, under suspension and asked him to explain his position as to why he went against the party diktat.
The Mirwaiz said, "It is his individual decision to meet them, the party is clear we are not meeting them. The interlocuters have been told that nothing has changed on the ground and we won't make any contact unless things change on the ground. We have suspended his (Ansari Sahib) party from the Hurriyat. In our next meeting, he has to do lot of explaining to do."
So far in their seven visits to Kashmir, the interlocutors have met almost every one but the separatists although some informal contact has been made with the moderates. Ansari's meeting with the panel comes more than a week after the assassination of moderate leader Maulana Showkat Shah.
Sources say the moderates backed the meet to send a message to the extremist faction of the Hurriyat that they won't be cowed down and that they can choose to talk whenever they want to.