SRINAGAR: In a major turn-around, the PDP-BJP coalition government in the State is ready to facilitate talks between Government of India (GoI) and separatists.

“The State government is ready to facilitate talks between GoI and the separatists,” Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh told Rising Kashmir.

He said the government would not compromise on two things – militancy and separatism.

“But separatists, who do not indulge in violence, and are ready for talks, then as per the Agenda of Alliance, we will like to revive the GoI-separatist talks as was the case during Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led government,” Singh said.

The first direct talks between separatists and GoI were held during the rule of Vajapyee-led NDA government in New Delhi in January 2004.

After the talks, two-sides had issued a joint statement in which it was agreed that talks were the first significant step in the dialogue process initiated by the GoI and that a step-by-step approach would lead to resolution of all outstanding issues relating to Jammu and Kashmir.

However, the dialogue process could not continue after the second round of talks despite the warmth shown by the two sides in the first round.

The separatists also held direct talks with Manmohan Singh-led UPA government but again the dialogue process could not continue.

Except Hurriyat Conference (G) Chairman, Syed Ali Geelani, other top separatist leaders, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Muhammad Yasin Malik and separatist-turned-mainstream leader and now minister Sajjad Lone have held talks with GoI.

Asked whether the PDP-BJP government in the State was ready to facilitate talks afresh, the Deputy CM said, “We are ready to start the process but for that thing to happen, the other side should also be ready.”

“Till this time, there is no willingness or mood on the other side for such a dialogue process,” he said. “Ek Haath se tali nahi bajti (It takes two to tango).”

However, Singh said ultimately the issues have to be resolved with dialogue.

“Talks should be held within J&K constitution and Indian constitution,” he said. “They are our own people not outsiders.”