Too little too late, say disappointed Kashmiris | india | Hindustan Times
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Too little too late, say disappointed Kashmiris

As the mammoth all-party meet in Delhi, Kashmiris who had remained glued to their TV sets reacted with disappoi-ntment when they heard the Centre was not ready to withdraw the sweeping powers given to the armed forces to combat militancy in the state.

india Updated: Sep 16, 2010 00:22 IST
Toufiq Rashid

As the mammoth all-party meet in Delhi, Kashmiris who had remained glued to their TV sets reacted with disappoi-ntment when they heard the Centre was not ready to withdraw the sweeping powers given to the armed forces to combat militancy in the state.

An ardent stone thrower, Mohd Zaid, 26, doesn’t mind being known by his real name. “The government and those in power are not brave enough to even acknowledge the real problem,” he said. “How do they expect to stop the protests by sending an all party delegation?”

“Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said law-and-order handling agencies in the state should be assisted more, which means they want to give forces more powers to kill,” said hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani. “They are not concerned about the suffering of the people.”

The Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) gives the security personnel immunity from prosecution against civilian killings, among other powers.

Detractors insist this virtual “licence to kill” has caused violence in the Valley to spiral.

Geelani said he won’t meet the delegation until his demands — among them the withdrawal of AFSPA — are accepted.

Sidiq Wahid, vice-chancellor of the Islamic University, Awantipora, sounded equally crestfallen.

“The political system of the country sees no sense of urgency in reaching out to the people of Kashmir,” he said.

A senior faculty member at Kashmir University, who did not wish to be named, said he had no expectations. “Bullets for stones,” he said, “is the policy for Kashmir.”