You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Kashmiri separatist leaders call for end to violence, bloodshed

LiveMint logoLiveMint 13-07-2017 Shaswati Das

New Delhi: In a surprise move, Kashmiri separatist leaders have called for an end to violence and bloodshed in the valley in a departure from their stance.

Following the attack on Monday that killed seven and injured 19 Amarnath pilgrims, separatist leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik released a statement, saying, “All bloodshed on all sides is uncalled for…and should stop and that can happen only when the reality of Kashmir is accepted.”

Intelligence officers who have been monitoring the moves of the separatists from the Hurriyat Conference and the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) downplayed the import of the statement.

“The Hurriyat’s only philosophy has been pro-Pakistan all these years. Harming unarmed civilians is terrorism and now if they don’t condemn that, they will be seen as factions supporting the killing of innocents and that would go against their Kashmir cause,” said a senior intelligence officer, who did not wish to be identified.

With the Kashmiri masses’ faith in the separatists beginning to waver, a lack of solidarity among their leaders would lower their “credibility”, this officer said.

“It is no secret that they (separatists) draw sponsorship from Pakistan. Ironically, there is also a huge wave of disillusionment against Pakistan and the Hurriyat on the streets of Kashmir. While they have always advocated hurting the men in uniform, they would find it hard to win back support of the people if they didn’t voice their support now,” he said.

Since its inception in 1993, the Hurriyat has represented the intellectual face of militancy in the valley, promising the people either complete autonomy or an eventual merger with Pakistan.

With the Centre intensifying its crackdown on the Hurriyat and its allies since May, government officials stated that the separatists were staring at a downfall despite this week’s damage control measures.

“We have immense faith in the people of Kashmir and know that they will never support a wrong cause. The separatists’ promise of autonomy to the Kashmiris is hollow and even the people know it now,” said a senior home ministry official, requesting anonymity.

More From LiveMint

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon