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Kashmir Pandit group flays minister for guerillas' prayers

New Delhi, October 13, 2007:

Roots in Kashmir, a rightwing group of displaced Kashmiri Pandits (Hindus), has criticised former minister of Indian administered Kashmir for offering Fateh (special prayers) of nine guerillas killed in an encounter with Indian troops last Thursday.

The group has said it was unfortunate that former tourism minister, Ghulam Hassan Mir had offered special prayers at the graves of nine guerillas killed on October 3 in Tangmarg area of north Kashmir.

Nine guerillas and two Indian army officers were killed in the two-day gun battle ahead of the Indian army chief General Deepak Kapoor’s first visit to Kashmir.

The group also criticised Indian television channels saying that they did not pay tributes to Indian soldiers.

When the group tried to stage a “tribute march” for the Indian soldiers they were beaten by Delhi police near the India Gate, an RIK statement said.

A spokesman of the groups said that it was sad that despite being India loyalists, Kashmiri Pandits even hadn’t the right to remember Indian soldiers.

Kashmiri Pandits fled the Muslim dominated Kashmir valley in early nineties after the outbreak of anti-India insurgency in late eighties.

Most of them have settled in Hindu dominated cities like Jammu and the Indian metropolitan cities like New Delhi.

While Kashmiri Pandits blame Muslim militant groups for their exodus, Kashmir Muslims say they left at the behest of then Governor Jag Mohan leaving Kashmiri Muslims “to face the ire of troops”.

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