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Kashmir separatist proposes Dogra State, Muzaffarbad March

Srinagar, August 06, 2008:

The moderate faction of the Kashmiri separatist alliance, All Parties Hurriyat Conference, has said that it had no objections to a separate ‘Dogra (Hindu) state’ carved out of the Muslim dominated Jammu Kashmir amid escalating regional and religious divide in the region.

Addressing a press conference in the Srinagar, summer capital of Indian administered Kashmir, Wednesday, the chairman of the Hurriyat, Mirwaiz Umar said:

“If Hindus of Jammu region want a separate state then Hurriyat (M) feels that their two and half districts should be disintegrated from rest of the Muslim majority parts of Jammu Kashmir.”

Kashmir cannot afford to be hostage to the two and half districts that are filled with the venomous fervour of communal forces, he said, adding that no compromise will be done over the Muslim majority parts of Jammu region as they are ‘integral parts of Kashmir’.

The controversy over a forestland transfer to a Hindu shrine board and its revocation in the face of huge protests by Muslims has stirred a deepening religious and regional divide in Indian administered Kashmir.

Hindu groups in Jammu province demanding return of forest land to the shrine are enforcing an economic blockade of the landlocked Kashmir Valley by attacking trucks and buses on the Jammu-Kashmir highway.

The blockade has strengthened voices for opening of Jehlum Valley Road, Kashmir’s traditional link to the world, that runs across the line of control, the line dividing Kashmir between India and Pakistan.

Reacting to the ongoing economic blockade, Mirwaiz said the Hurriyat would make a call to people to cross the Line of Control (LoC) after August 15.

“I appeal to the people of Kashmir including our brothers of Poonch, Rajouri, Doda, and Kishtwar to participate in a foot march en route Muzaffarabad. The date of this program will be announced after August 15,” Mirwaiz said.

He said that the foot march after August 15 will commence with a slogan “Naka Bandi Tod Do Apna Kashmir Chod Do (Lift the cordon and leave our Kashmir).”

Stating that blocking of essential supplies amounted to war under international law, Mirwaiz said that Hurriyat will lead a protest march to the office of United Nations Military Observers Group for India and Pakistan in Srinagar on Monday, and present a memorandum regarding economic blockade to UN officials.

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