Mehbooba, Hurriyat Bicker Over 'Colonies' in Kashmir

Drop proposal or else face joint resistance, separatists to Mehbooba

SRINAGAR: The Hurriyat Conference has asked the Mehbooba Mufti led government to "drop" the proposal for construction of Pandit and Sainik colonies in Kashmir or else face a joint resistance program from separatist camp. “The shutdown or the protest programs are not our hobby," veteran Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Geelani said in a statement, "but it is the only option available with us....If the plan of proposed Sainik and Pandit colonies is not dropped, a joint resistance program will soon reach people". The state legislature, which is in its budget session, has witnessed fireworks on the issues with the state government announcing that it will go ahead with the construction of transit accommodations for Kashmiri Pandits who want to return to their homeland. The Chief Minister Tuesday said the government has, however, not allocated any land for Sainik Colonies and the decision was conveyed on May 16 by the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Dr Asgar Hassan Samoon, to the Rajya Sainik Board which mooted the proposal. Leading the firefighting on behalf of the PDP-BJP coalition government in the Upper House of the legislature, Mehbooba said there is no reason to oppose transit camps for Pandit families which already exist in many places of the Valley. She also accused the opposition with "trying to deteriorate" the situation in the state by raising 'non-issues'. “Mehbooba Mufti and her RSS colleagues are trapped in a misunderstanding that by caging the pro-freedom leadership, they will succeed in implementing the Nagpur agendas in Kashmir and they will face no resistance,” Geelani said in the statement on Tuesday. “The RSS and the Sangh Parivar can’t become friends of anybody particularly with Muslims and that too a Kashmiri. They will use the PDP for some period and then they will find their place in dustbin.” The octogenarian Hurriyat leader appealed people to "show their resentment" by holding peaceful protest demonstration after Friday prayers on June 3, "People should also hoist black flags on this day. It is the ‘Do or Die’ like situation for the Kashmiri nation and they can’t effort (sic) to ignore it in any way,” Geelani said. The call for protests has been backed by moderate Hurriyat and JKLF. Appealing for calm and in a deft reference to the Hurriyat's protest program, Mehbooba said in the Upper House that the acts of stone-pelting by youths in parts of the capital city post Friday prayers should come to an end. "At many historical places in Srinagar city like Jamia Masjid and Pathar Masjid, which used to be thronged by thousands of devotees on Friday, 'Jumma Mubarak' turns into 'Pathar (stone) Mubarak'. Islam doesn't preach violence. It is a religion of peace," she said. Hitting out at the Opposition and the Hurriyat for 'twisting' her 'Cat and Pigeon' remarks, the Chief Minister said Pandits don't face any threat from their Muslims neighbours, as her critiques had suggested, but those forces who perpetrated the Wandhama Massacre. 23 Kashmiri Pandits were killed by 'unidentified gunmen' in Wandhama village of Ganderbal on January 25, 1998, sparking fears among minority Hindu community members who had braved the initial onslaught on Pandits at the beginning of insurgency and stayed put in the Valley. "Pandits don't face threat from Muslim neighbours but from people who perpetrated Wandhama massacre, those who killed (popular separatist leaders) Mirwaiz Mohammad Farooq and Abdul Gani Lone," she said.


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