Government curbs irk separatists in J&K | india | Hindustan Times
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Government curbs irk separatists in J&K

Yasin Malik threatened an indefinite hunger-strike from May 26 if the state government did not change its attitude and continued with its "curb-us-campaign", reports Rashid Ahmad.

india Updated: May 07, 2007 16:39 IST

A discontent of sorts is brewing in separatist political circles in Kashmir against what they alleged a discreet campaign by the government to curb their activities. They fume that while mainstream political parties are not only facilitated for such activities they are also provided protection for holding public rallies, "we are restrained to carry out any political activity, howsoever democratic it may be".



Mohammad Yasin Malik, chief of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) threatened an indefinite hunger-strike from May 26 if the state government did not change its attitude and continued with its "curb-us-campaign". Malik was arrested on Saturday a day ahead of his "

safar-e-azadi"

(journey to freedom), which he had declared to take out from Kokernag on Sunday. "The

safar

was aimed to garner support for the demand to include people of Kashmir in the dialogue process between India and Pakistan. But the police cracked down on our workers, seized the bus we had hired during the

safar

and put me in the police lock-up," he said.



"I want to put a question to the Prime Minister of India. Isn't my

safar-e-azadi

an attempt to strengthen the peace process between India and Pakistan?" he asked. "I have met Pakistan President General Musharaf four times, Pakistan Prime Minister Shoukat Aziz six times. I have also met Prime Minister Dr Manmohan. I told all of them that they cannot carry on with the peace process unless the people of Kashmir are involved in it," Malik said. "Dr Manmohan Singh told me that they (government of India) cannot even think of excluding Kashmiris from the process," the JKLF chief said adding "now if I reiterate this demand it would only but strengthen the peace process."



Malik said that he had always supported the peace process. "India and Pakistan initiated the dialogue and peace process in 2002 but I facilitated it in 1994," he said adding "I restricted myself to non-violence despite the killing of my activists by police and security forces. I was arrested 200 times since then and six attempts were made on my life. But despite all these provocations I remained determined to non-violence," he said.



The JKLF chief said that he would again launch his "

safar-e-azadi"

from May 20, "and if the government against came in-between, I will go on a hunger strike for an indefinite period from May 26." The authorities stopped Malik's May 6-

safar

as he had not sought any permission for it. He however said that the district administration in Anantnag was informed beforehand and "many officers from the district administration including the deputy commissioner visited us our camp at Zalagangam". Malik said that he would apply for proper permission for his May 20-campaign but if the government did not allow "I will be left with no choice but to go on a hunger strike".



The government earlier cracked down on the leaders of Syed Ali Geelani-led Hurriyat Conference and arrested them under the Public Safety Act for holding a rally without permission at Id Gah in the capital Srinagar. A general shutdown was called by Geelani on Saturday against the government action.

First Published: May 07, 2007 16:30 IST