Separatists slam PM's remarks

16 August 2009
The Daily Excelsior

SRINAGAR: Separatists today described Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's remarks that the recent elections in the State showed that the separatist ideology had no place in the State as 'unrealistic and ridiculous'. Singh's remarks were in line with the traditional rigid Indian policy towards the Kashmir problem, said a spokesman of the hardline faction of the Hurriyat Conference, headed by detained Syed Ali Shah Geelani, here. 'The remarks are ridiculous and unrealistic,' he said slamming the Prime Minister. Addressing the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the Independence Day yesterday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said people of the State had participated vigorously in both the elections (Assembly and Parliamentary). 'This is a proof that there is no place for separatist thought in Jammu and Kashmir,' he had said. The spokesman said 'Manmohanji has abused Kashmiris by labelling them as separatists and this approach is totally unrealistic.' Demanding a referendum on the Kashmir issue, he said 'at a time when there is an increasing tendency across the world to respect human rights, the traditional Indian stand has become ridiculous.' Flaying the Prime Minister for his remarks, Jamait Ahlihadees chief Maulana Showkat Ahmad Shah said 'the Kashmiris have demonstrated what they want when they hit the roads last year.' He called for serious and sincere efforts on part of the Government to resolve the Kashmir issue. Abdul Gani Bhat, acting chairman of the moderate faction of the Hurriyat, said 'the Prime Minister is probably under some democratic compulsions to make these observations as not many weeks ago, he has invited them (separatists) for talks.' 'We will have to resolve the Kashmir issue in the larger interest of peace and stability in the region,' he said. (PTI)