Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Kashmir rejects partial autonomy offer

Pro-independence groups in Indian-administered Kashmir are rejecting an offer of political autonomy for the region from India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Several senior separatist politicians in the disputed region have rejected Singh's initiative. The groups say they are fighting for independence, not autonomy.

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, a Muslim cleric and an influential moderate separatist said on Wednesday that Kashmiris' right to self-determination should be respected.

"Our struggle is not for restoration of autonomy. It is to seek our right to self-determination," AFP quoted Farooq as saying.

"We should be allowed to decide whether we want to remain with India, accede to Pakistan or carve out an independent state," he said.

Kashmir lies at the heart of more than 60 years of hostility between India and Pakistan, which both claim the region in full but have partial control over it.

Javed Mir, a former militant commander turned separatist politician, has also pledged to continue his struggle for independence through peaceful protests.

"We will continue our fight for our goal through peaceful protests."

Mir has been among the first Kashmiris to take up arms in 1989 when a full-blown insurgency broke out against the New Delhi rule over the valley.

Singh offered to grant Kashmir political autonomy after months of anti-India protests in Kashmir, which left dozens of protesters killed.

The Indian premier said on Tuesday that New Delhi will consider any consensus proposal for autonomy as long as it does not violate India's constitution.

Singh also promised to create jobs for the region, where unemployment runs rampant and has fuelled resentment against the New Delhi rule.

Meanwhile, Indian police said on Wednesday that militants had killed three policemen in an attack about 50 km (30 miles) north of Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian Kashmir.

In another separate attack, a woman was killed and eight other people were injured when their bus was caught in cross-fire between militants and Indian soldiers during an ambush.

No comments:

Post a Comment