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'No secret diplomacy between separatists and New Delhi'

By Mukhtar Ahmad
May 21, 2010 23:02 IST
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Moderate separatist All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) chairman Mirwaiz Moulvi Umar Farooq on Friday categorically denied that "any quiet dialogue was going on between them and the Centre".

The Mirwaiz described the Centre's assertion on it as "sheer propaganda".

He was addressing a rally at Eidgah in the old city organised to commemorate the death anniversaries of two senior separatist leaders, Mirwaiz Moulvi Mohammad Farooq and Abdul Gani Lone.

"There is no such thing as secret diplomacy between the separatists and New Delhi," the Mirwaiz asserted as his supporters shouted slogans.

"There are no secret talks and no separatist leader has been taken into confidence by the centre after the home minister announced initiation of a secret dialogue with all shades of opinion in the state to solve the problems in Kashmir," the Mirwaiz told the rally.

The moderate APHC chairman counselled the prime minister who is scheduled to visit the state next month 'to initiate a meaningful dialogue with Pakistan and APHC to resolve the Kashmir issues instead of announcing economic packages for the state'.

"Economic packages have yielded nothing," he added.

The Mirwaiz alleged that 'human rights of Kashmiris were being blatantly violated across the Valley'.

As the rally was dispersing angry youths shouting anti-India slogans indulged in heavy stone pelting in parts of the old city prompting police and paramilitary, central reserve police force (CRPF) to respond by firing tear gas shells and use repeated baton charges.

High tension gripped the old city as the authorities further beefed up the security to disperse the stone pelting mobs.

The security force-protestor clashes were continuing in the old city areas till late this evening.

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Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar