Separatists join row over Mujahid Manzil
21 September 2005
Srinagar: The row over the historic Mujahid Manzil between the State Government and the Opposition National Conference has taken a new turn with separatists joining the war of words over the issue and threatening to resist any takeover move by the Government. National Front chairman Nayeem A. Khan has said that his party would fight 'tooth and nail' the plans to convert the Mujahid Manzil into a community hall. 'This is symbol of our resistance as our struggle for freedom has started from here. It is very dear and sacred to us,' Mr. Khan said in a statement, adding that the people would fill streets to protest if 'the sanctity of Mujahid Manzil was harmed.' 'Will anger the public' The place was held in highest honour in public and any attempt to use it for political purposes would lead to anger and resentment. 'Neither the NC nor the PDP could claim their right over the place,' said Mr. Khan, whose party is part of hard-line faction of the Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Geelani. 'The monument will remind the future generations of a sustained struggle Kashmiri people have been engaged in for their legitimate political rights.' On Saturday, the National Conference registered its protest with the Governor S.K. Sinha and condemned the State Government. Led by Abdur Raheem Rather, NC leader in the Assembly, the delegation said: 'Sayeed should come to senses and give up plans to dismantle the building as it is tantamount to playing with the sentiments of the people of Kashmir.' Great leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Jayaprakash Narayan held consultations with Shiekh Mohammad Abdullah on matters of national interest at the Mujahid Manzil, Mr. Rather told The Hindu . 'The monument is of such historic and sentimental value to the party and its vast following and any malicious attempt to tinker with its legal status may incur the people's wrath.'