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Kashmir separatists shifting focus on Jammu

Jan 17, 2007:

Targeting the Muslims belts of the predominantly Hindu region of Jammu, Kashmir based separatist outfits are doing a rethink on their strategies.

After 17-years of anti-India insurgency in the Indian administrated Kashmir, a number of separatist organisations are now feeling the need to cater to the people of Jammu region.

With their foot hold in Kashmir Valley separatists have been ignoring Jammu belt in the past. The separatists have come to the grips that the people in the Muslim belts of Jammu region of Doda, Bhaderwah, Kishtwar, Poonch and Rajouri can no longer be dealt as 'silent supporters'.

It was Muslim League leader Masrat Alam who a few months back organised tours to Muslim dominated districts of Poonch and Doda and made his opinions public.

Alam called upon Muslims of these areas to build alliances with people in the Muslim dominated Valley rather than Hindu dominated Jammu region.

He asked Muslims in Poonch and Doda to send their children to study in the Valley institutes and also look for matrimonial alliances there.

The moderate faction of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, an amalgam of various separatist organisations in the state, which is led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, is also looking for opening its office in Jammu. The conglomerate had all but inaugurated its office here but for a proper accommodation.

A number of displaced Kashmiri Pandit leaders from various camps met Mirwaiz a few days back when he was in Jammu on way to his Pakistan visit and communicated to him their desire to return to their homes and hearths instead of a separate homeland, which the frontal organisations of Kashmiri Pandits like the two factions of Panun Kashmir, Panun Kashmir Movement (PKM) and All State Kashmiri Pandit Conference (ASKPC) demands.

The displaced Kashmiri Pandit community usually does not see eye-to-eye with the separatists and feel they were the ones responsible for their fleeing the Valley.

Many Jammu based political parties also expressed their desire to Mirwaiz of being a part of his Hurriyat.

On the occasion of Eid-ul-Azha when the hardline pro-Pakistan separatist leader and chairman Tehreek-e-Hurriyat (TeH) Syed Ali Shah Geelani brought out an impressive rally from Eidgah to Shaheedi Chowk outside the ruling Congress headquarters in Jammu and raised slogans demanding freedom from India, the incident sent signals to the separatists that they too had a constituency in the Hindu dominated Jammu.

Democratic Freedom Party president Shabir Ahmad Shah and pro-freedom Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik in the past have addressed impressive rallies in Jammu.


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