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Our agenda is freedom, not autonomy: Kashmir separatists

Source: ANI
December 26, 2009 14:21 IST
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All Parties Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Omar Farooq has reacted sharply to recommendations made by a high-level committee favouring autonomy for the state.

Talking to reporters on Friday, Farooq said the separatists' agenda is "freedom, not autonomy".

"The agenda of Hurriyat has never been autonomy, our agenda is freedom, so we didn't want to give any comment on it," he added.

"We accept only that solution in which Pakistan, India and the people of Kashmir are involved. Any solution between two parties, either between India and Pakistan or between Pakistan and Kashmiri people, will not be accepted," he said.

The Working Group, which submitted its report to Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Wednesday, is reported to have recommended autonomy for Kashmir.

Kashmir was given autonomous powers in all sectors excluding defence, communication and foreign affairs but over the years, the powers have diminished.

But the PM's group, headed by former Supreme Court judge S Saghir Ahmad, has favoured restoring autonomy to the Himalayan region.

Kashmir's ruling National Conference has been seeking autonomy since 2000 when it moved a resolution to support the demand.

The panel is also reported to have undertaken a review of Article 370 of the Constitution granting special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

Article 370 specifies that except for defence, foreign affairs and communications (matters specified in the instrument of accession), the Parliament needs the state government's concurrence for applying all other laws.

Thus the state's residents live under a separate set of laws, including those related to citizenship, ownership of property, and fundamental rights, as compared to other Indians. 

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Source: ANI