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Release of separatist leaders demanded

india Updated: Aug 30, 2008 17:15 IST

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Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Front (PDF) on Saturday asked the Centre to release all the separatist leaders who were arrested ahead of their march to Lal Chowk and initiate talks with them to resolve the Kashmir issue.

"Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should initiate talks with the arrested leaders and members of the coordination committee to resolve the Kashmir issue," PDF chief Hakeem Mohammad Yasin said while addressing the political affairs committee of the party in Srinagar.

Demanding the release of separatist leaders, Yasin said the arrest of "people's representatives" was no solution to the issue. "They should be set free immediately and invited for talks to relieve people of the difficulties and inconvenience."

Chairmen of both factions of Hurriyat Conference Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, JKLF chairman Mohammad Yaseen Malik, Dukhtaran-e-Millat chief Aisya Andrabi and dozens of other separatist leaders were arrested ahead of their march to Lal Chowk on Sunday.

Yasin also asked the administration to lift curfew from the Valley immediately.

"The state administration should take early steps to ensure availability of essential commodities, electricity, water and medicines to the people in view of the ensuing holy month of Ramzan", he said.

The National Conference also demanded lifting of curfew in the Valley and other parts of the Jammu region.