Friday, August 29, 2008

Mehbboba: It is martial law in Kashmir

Tough time for Kashmiris: Omar

Srinagar, Aug 28: Aghast over the prevailing situation in Kashmir, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and National Conference on Thursday demanded lifting of curfew and curbs on media forthwith. PDP president Mehbooba Mufti described the present situation as “martial law,” while National Conference President Omar Abdullah said it was a “very tough time” for Kashmiris.

” It seems as if martial law has been imposed in the Valley,” the PDP President Mehbooba Mufti told Greater Kashmir. “People have been restricted within the four walls of their homes. News channels have gone off the air and no newspapers are being published. Such things don’t happen in a democratic set up. It is obviously martial law,” Mehbooba added.

Warning New Delhi of dire consequences if it continues to suppress the voice of people, Mehbooba said, “New Delhi has failed to suppress the people of Kashmir by subjugating them for past 20 years. If New Delhi feels that by resorting to oppression they can suppress the people of Kashmir then they are living in a fool’s paradise.” Mehbooba said that it’s unfortunate that old mindset of New Delhi is coming to fore again and the section people there who wanted Kashmir issue to be resolved peacefully have become weak. “Hardliners are once again ruling the roost and if they continue with the same policy it can have far reaching consequences,” she said. The PDP president said that the present movement is different from nineties. “Today it’s a people’s movement and there are no guns. New Delhi needs to understand it. If it continues to use force and hold people of the Valley as hostages within their homes situation will worsen and it will add to further alienation.” Mehbooba accused New Delhi of once again trying to deceive the people of Kashmir. “Instead of resolving the issue, New Delhi is once again trying to suppress the present mass uprising by using force,” she said, adding, “Some people with vested interests once again want to handle Kashmir situation with an iron hand.” Mehbooba demanded that curfew and restrictions on local news channels and press be lifted forthwith.

President of National Conference Omar Abdullah described the present situation as a very strict situation. “People told me that it’s for the first time that such a curfew has been imposed,” Omar said, adding, “It’s unfortunate that troopers are barging into the houses of people and are resorting to hooliganism. They should learn to respect people.” However, the NC president stopped short of saying that it’s a “martial law” like situation. “It’s a strict situation but it’s not military rule yet.” Accusing government of adopting double standards, the NC President said, “It’s strange that curfew is enforced strictly in Kashmir and in Jammu it is vice-versa. This is sheer discrimination.” Terming the imposition of curfew as surprising, Omar said, “Authorities should have clamped the curfew on August 11 to prevent the situation from taking an ugly turn. Had they done so many people would not have died and things could have been better.” Omar said that authorities should hold dialogue with the separatist leaders rather than imposing curfew. “Dialogue only can resolve the present crisis.” Terming restrictions on media as unfortunate, Omar said, “It should not have happened. Restrictions should be revoked and curfew should be lifted

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