Open cross-LOC road, says Mirwaiz

15 August 2008
The Indian Express
Riyaz Wani

Srinagar: Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Friday set three conditions to ease the situation in the state, and none of them has anything to do with the Amarnath land row. The Hurriyat wants the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawalkote roads opened, ‘draconian’ laws in the state revoked and Kashmiri prisoners released. Addressing the Friday sermon at the Grand Mosque, Mirwaiz said “Unless these three conditions are met, the peaceful protests will continue.” The Mirwaiz, however, said no Kashmiri was against the Amarnath Yatra. “Kashmiris will ensure the Yatra continues unhindered and that pilgrims are provided every facility along the way,” he said, adding that the pilgrimage itself was never a problem with any Kashmiri. Criticising the Government response to the protests in the Valley, the Mirwaiz said “The Valley is reeling under the shortage of essentials including baby milk. But instead of addressing this, we are getting bullets... We are labelled terrorists. But is fighting for survival also terrorism?” The Mirwaiz said the two Hurriyats would work side by side to take the ongoing agitation to its logical conclusion. On August 16, the two factions would lead a procession to Pampore, the native town of Sheikh Abdul Aziz, who was killed in police firing. Talking to The Indian Express, the Mirwaiz said the Hurriyat will meet on August 16 to decide on its “Muzaffarabad chalo programme”. “We will not sit idle until Government opens the cross-LoC route for us.” On August 18, the Hurriyat will march to the United Nation Military Observers Group for India Pakistan at Sonawar. The Hurriyat has also called for a social boycott of the policemen who “fired at the unarmed crowds”. Hurriyat's provincial president Nayeem Khan said they would soon reveal the names of the cops.