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Separatists differ over Afzal Guru: WikiLeaks

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Srinagar, March 16, 2011
First Published: 23:03 IST(16/3/2011) | Last Updated: 23:05 IST(16/3/2011)

Fresh leaks on whistle blowing website Wikileaks have exposed differences among Kashmiri separatists over Mohammed Afzal Guru, who has been sentenced to death in the 2001 Parliament attack case.

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Releasing a US diplomat's cable, the website quotes Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Yasin Malik as telling a consulate political officer that Guru's only crime was "buying a car".

Malik says that the "crime" does not merit a death sentence. Guru was not a member of the team that attacked Parliament but had bought the car that breached Parliament security.

But another Hurriyat leader told the political officer that his faction was "remaining as quiet as possible because they do not feel strongly that India should pardon Afzal."

He said moderate members of the Hurriyat were unable to express this view publicly "given the mood in the Valley and the threat from terrorists".

He claimed "the controversy over Afzal had led to a loss of support for moderates… especially a small but growing cadre of youth who are being educated in extremist madarsas springing across Srinagar with Pakistani Jamaat-i-Islami party funding."

A separate cable claimed that state Congress chief Saifuddin Soz played a role in getting separatists agree to talks with New Delhi in 2005.

"Soz, a Sonia Gandhi confidant, worked discreetly and diligently behind-the-scenes to help launch the PM's dialogue with Kashmiri separatists such as the Mirwaiz (Umar Farooq), Yasin Malik, and Sajjad Lone," said the cable sent by then US ambassador to India David Mulford.

The cable describes Soz as a long-standing 'contact' of the (US) embassy's political section. "…for his loyal service (to Gandhi family) and his successes on Kashmir diplomacy, Sonia has elevated him to the Cabinet," the cable quotes Mulford on Soz becoming a Union minister.

The US diplomat also saw Soz as an important player in resolving the Kashmir issue.

"Soz will play a key role in Delhi's efforts in Kashmir and dialogue with Pakistan," reads the cable.


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