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Kashmiri students hold rally

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    Kashmiri students hold pro-independence rally ... By Raja Asghar SRINAGAR, Oct 6: Kashmiri students seeking independence for their disputed Himalayan region
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 8, 2004
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      Kashmiri students hold pro-independence rally
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      By Raja Asghar

      SRINAGAR, Oct 6: Kashmiri students seeking independence for their
      disputed Himalayan region burst into an uproar at the region's main
      university on Wednesday during a visit there by a group of Pakistani
      journalists.

      They chanted 'We want azadi (freedom)' on the lawns of the Kashmir
      University in Srinagar, the summer capital of occupied Kashmir,
      while the group of 16 journalists from Pakistan and Azad Kashmir
      held separate meetings with senior university teachers and student
      representatives to know how the 15-year-old freedom movement against
      New Delhi's rule had affected the region.

      On queries from journalists, almost all student representatives said
      they would prefer total independence for a reunited Jammu and
      Kashmir rather than being a part of India or Pakistan.

      But those who demonstrated outside did chant 'Jeevay, jeevay
      Pakistan (long live Pakistan), besides other slogans including "we
      want freedom, we will fight to get freedom". The situation became
      uncontrollable at one point when the demonstrating crowd swelled
      from about 60 at the beginning to hundreds.

      The situation was calmed down after university's Vice Chancellor
      Prof Abdul Wahid and leader of the journalist delegation Imtiaz Alam
      briefly addressed the demonstrators at another hall and listened to
      their representatives.

      In a move to clear suspicions about the motives of the Pakistani
      journalists' first-ever trip to occupied Kashmir, South Asian Free
      Media Association (Safma) secretary-general Imtiaz Alam told
      students that his delegation had come only to know the feelings of
      the people and was not carrying anybody's agenda. But a student
      activist told the Pakistani journalists that if they wanted to
      listen to Kashmiris, they must go to every village and asked why
      they came to the disputed state with an Indian visa.

      Mr Alam explained that there was no other way for Pakistani
      journalists if they were to come to occupied Kashmir. The university
      teachers, in their meeting with journalists, explained how their
      institution carried on its academic activities despite the prolonged
      conflict that drove many non-Muslim and even some Muslim staff from
      the region.

      SHABBIR SHAH'S GROUSE: In a breakfast meeting with Pakistani
      journalists, Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party chief
      Shabbir Ahmad Shah, a comparatively moderate leader, complained that
      confidence-building measures adopted by New Delhi and Islamabad
      recently had brought about no change in the situation in occupied
      Kashmir. Repression was rather growing here, he added.

      He was unhappy that Islamabad had done nothing to stop India from
      using a cease fire declared by Pakistan to construct a barbed-wired
      fence along the Line of Control in Kashmir to stop alleged militant
      infiltration from Azad Kashmir.

      Mr Shah said that India should stop custodial killings in Kashmir,
      release detained Kashmiri political activists, withdraw the public
      safety law and appoint former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee as
      the head of New Delhi's Kashmir Committee to allow him to a play a
      role in a peace process initiated by him along with President Pervez
      Musharraf in January.

      Mr Shah, whose party is neither a member of the All-Party Hurriyat
      Conference nor aligned with militant groups, acknowledged
      differences among various Kashmiri parties and groups but said all
      of them wanted resolution of the Kashmir problem. He said the
      militants were basically local and those who came from the other
      side of the LoC would go back if Indians agreed to improve the
      situation.

      http://www.dawn.com/cgi-bin/dina.pl?file=top7.htm&date=20041007

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