Kashmiri rebels offered olive branch

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The National Conference Party, the largest pro-India party in Kashmir, won a sweeping majority in the first local elections in the state since a separatist revolt began in 1990, and quickly offered an olive branch to rebels. The party, led by former chief minister Farooq Abdullah, won 54 seats in the 87-member assembly. Mr Abdullah, who has lambasted separatists as Pakistani agents, offered to meet leaders of the All-Parties Hurriyat (freedom) Conference, which bands separatist groups. Mr Abdullah was chief minister when the separatist rebellion erupted. More than 20,000 people have died during the revolt, most in Kashmir.

Reuter - Srinagar