Kashmir stone-pelters backed by opposition: Advani


New Delhi : Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani Saturday said the “stone-pelting movement” in Kashmir draws its strength more from the Mehbooba Mufti-led People’s Democratic Party (PDP) than from the separatist Hurriyat Conference.

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In his latest blog, Advani wrote: “The separatists in Kashmir are led by the Hurriyat Conference. But the ferocious stone-pelting movement these days draws its strength more from the PDP than from the Hurriyat.”

Kashmir has been rocked by protests by stone-pelting mobs since June 11, leading to retaliatory firing by security forces which have resulted in the death of 65 civilians, mostly youths.

The protests led to shutdowns and imposition of curfew, crippling normal life in the valley.

Advani recalled the discussion on Kashmir in the recently-concluded monsoon session of parliament in which “the home minister (P. Chidambaram) did not come” to reply to the issues raised by BJP members, especially former party president Murli Manohar Joshi.

“The house was adjourned sine die without the government telling parliament what kind of package it had prepared for the ‘azadi’-seekers,” Advani said.

He said “rumours kept circulating that under the guise of a political solution some package of concessions was being planned”.

Advani vehemently criticised hardline Hurriyat Conference leader Ali Shah Geelani too.

“Geelani has stated brazenly last week that the means of ‘resistance’ may have been changing from time to time, but the objective has been consistent, namely: freedom from Indian rule,” Advani wrote.

According to Advani, Geelani has spelt out five minimum conditions for reviewing the ongoing agitation which had created anarchy in the valley.

Geelnai wants that “India must accept that Jammu and Kashmir is a disputed territory, start de-militarization; scrap the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh) must guarantee that hereafter there would be no police firing and no arrests”, Advani said.

According to the BJP leader, Geelani has demanded that all “political” prisoners including Afzal Guru, sentenced to death by Supreme Court for planning the attack on parliament, must be released and securitymen and policemen responsible for action against the separatists must be punished.

“In 2002, Geelani was seriously ill in Ranchi jail. A state aircraft took him to Mumbai for treatment. A doctor who happened to be a Kashmiri pandit, by the name Sameer Kaul, performed a difficult surgery on him and saved his life,” Advani recalled.

“In 2007 again, he was diagnosed to be suffering from cancer of the liver. He wanted to go to the US for treatment but the US embassy denied him visa. He did not go to Pakistan. He chose, instead, to go again to Mumbai, where the doctors performed yet another life-saving operation on him,” Advani added.

“On his return to Srinagar, Geelani said that India was in illegal occupation of Kashmir, and urged the international community to impose economic sanctions against India,” Advani wrote.