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After Mirwaiz, Pak FM calls Geelani to discuss Kashmir situation

Agencies

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Srinagar, Feb 3: Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi spoke to hardline Hurriyat Conference chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani and discussed the Kashmir issue, the Foreign Office said here on Sunday, days after he made a similar phone call to a separatist leader that angered India.
The Foreign Office in a statement said that Qureshi and Geelani discussed about an international conference to be held in London to “express solidarity with the Kashmiri people”.
“Foreign Minister Qureshi spoke to the senior leadership of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference on telephone before his departure for London to attend international activities to be held there in connection with the Kashmir Day,” the statement said.
Qureshi on Tuesday telephoned Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and discussed with him Islamabad’s efforts to highlight the Kashmir issue.
India Wednesday summoned Pakistan envoy Sohail Mahmood and categorically told him that Qureshi’s telephonic conversation with Mirwaiz was a “brazen attempt” to subvert India’s unity and violate its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
India said that Qureshi’s telephonic conversation with a separatist leader reflected the duplicity in Pakistani leadership’s approach on ties with India.
The Pakistan Foreign Office on Sunday said Qureshi exchanged views with Geelani about the programmes to be held in London.
Qureshi said that Pakistan has no intention to interfere in the internal matters of India, but New Delhi should also stop blaming Islamabad for its problems.
“We want to resolve the Kashmir dispute through dialogue but India is making undue hue and cry,” Qureshi said.
“Issues are emerging in India but Pakistan has no role in that,” he said.
Qureshi said that he would highlight Pakistan’s view point on Kashmir issue at an event in the House of Common in London this week.
The Foreign Office also issued Qureshi’s statement before his departure to London in which he was quoted as saying that Kashmir is an “important pillar” of Pakistan’s foreign policy.
“Pakistan will continue its support for the oppressed Kashmiris on political, moral and foreign levels and want resolution of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UN resolution,” he said.
“India gets annoyed if the Kashmir issue is highlighted despite the fact that it is a resolvable issue. The real face of India would be exposed by presenting Pakistan’s point of view on the issue in the international conference being held on Kashmir in London at the House of Commons,” he said.
He said regardless of the political party winning the next election in India, Pakistan would reciprocate to the new government’s good gesture in New Delhi.
India has made it clear to Pakistan that talks and terrorism cannot go together.

‘Kashmir cornerstone of Pakistan`s foreign policy’
Agencies
Islamabad, Feb 3: Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Sunday said Kashmir was a “cornerstone” of Pakistan’s foreign policy.
According to Radio Pakistan, Qureshi in a telephonic talk with senior Kashmiri leadership said: “Pakistan will raise strong voice to highlight Indian persecution and brutalities being perpetrated in Kashmir.”
“Pakistan will continue to extend its political, moral and diplomatic support for the struggle of Kashmiris for their right to self-determination in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions,” the Radio report quoted Qureshi as having said.
Qureshi on Sunday left for London where he will attend international events to mark ‘Kashmir Solidarity Day’.
The Foreign Minister will address International Kashmir Conference tomorrow in the British Parliament. He will attend an exhibition on Kashmir in Park Lane, London on Tuesday.

 
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In times of hatred, Sikh brethren’s efforts spread positive vibes

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Feb 20: With Kashmiris facing the heat following the suicide attack in Pulwama, Sikh groups have come to the rescue of Valleyites putting up in various parts of India.

In the aftermath of Lethpora incident in which 49 CRPF troopers were killed last week, there has been a spate of attacks against Kashmiris in Jammu and other parts of India.

Facing threats and harassment, Kashmiris have been forced to leave their education and businesses midway and make efforts to return home.

 

In these times of worry, Khalsa Aid International, an NGO, has reached out to the distressed students and offered them all possible help.

At least 30 Sikh youth associated with the NGO, have been helping Kashmiris in various parts.
“We evacuated scores of Kashmiris from Dehradun to Mohali and then to Jammu in the past three days. We transported first batch of 100 students and another of 150 from Dehradun to Jammu with proper security. At least 70 more students are on the way to Jammu,” Jeevanjyot Singh, who is associated with Khalsa International told The Kashmir Monitor.

“Eight Kashmiri girls were also sent to Srinagar by air after rescued from Dehradun,” he said.
Jeevanjyot said that Kashmiri students were feeling safe in Punjab.

“They are also provided accommodation at a Gurduwara in 3D1 sector Mohali arranged by the Gurudwara committee,” he said.

The group has provided several helpline numbers for Ambala, Chandigarh and Dehradun.

The role of Sikh youth has been well appreciated on social media in Kashmir and elsewhere.

“The Sikh sangat has gone above & beyond the call of duty in reaching out & helping Kashmiris in distress, whether in Jammu or outside the state,” former J&K CM, Omar Abdullah tweeted on Wednesday.
Mehbooba Makhdoomi, a prominent columnist and researcher, wrote: Kashmir pays gratitude to Sikh community in general & @Khalsa_Aid International in specific for coming to our rescue, at a time when it mattered. “He who does not thank people, does not thank Allah”. Will protect you with our blood, if, God Forbid, the need arises.”
Shinjini, a Twitter user wrote: “These @khalsa guys restore my faith in humanity. At a time when most of the country is going cuckoo, these guys are quietly doing what’s necessary.”

Kabir, a former JNU student, tweeted: “Salutes to @khalsa-Aid, when the streets across India are resonating with hate and malice, the gallant Sikhs came to the rescue of Kashmiris.”

A group of Sikhs from Tral Pulwama have also started free Langer and accommodation for Kashmiris near Jammu bus stand.

“We also have a group of volunteers from Jammu and have been providing all possible help to Kashmiris and many were rescued from mobs,” a Sikh volunteer from Tral told The Kashmir Monitor.

Similarly, the Sikh groups have arranged accommodation at various places in Chandigarh and Jammu for Kashmiris.

One of the students, who returned from Dehradun, said, “Our college authorities told us to leave saying when things get normal they will call us back. There was no safety for us and the crowd outside the campus threatened to beat us up.”

“The state government should make concrete efforts to ensure the safety of Kashmiris, he said adding: “Sikhs really played an important role in rescuing Kashmiri youth from the goons”.

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Two Kashmiri shawl vendors attacked on train

Press Trust of India

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New Delhi, Feb 20: Two Kashmiri shawl vendors have claimed they were beaten up and called “stone pelters” by unidentified men on a train, forcing them to cut short their business trip to Rohtak, officials said Wednesday.

The incident comes amid reports of attacks on Kashmiri people in many parts of the country in the aftermath of the February 14 attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama that left 49 personnel dead.

“Three Kashmiri shawl vendors boarded the general compartment of a local train from Sarai Rohilla station at around 10.40 am for a business trip to Sampla in Haryana. They claimed they were pushed into a corner and called ‘stone pelters’,” said Dinesh Gupta, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Railways).

 

“When they objected, the accused allegedly abused and slapped two Kashmiri vendors. The attackers said ‘you hurl stones there (in Kashmir) and come to earning a livelihood here’. Other passengers also joined in and created a ruckus,” the DCP (Railways) said.

Thereafter, the three Kashmiri men de-boarded at Nangloi station, leaving their bags containing shawls and suits worth around Rs 2 lakh in the train, Gupta added.

A case has been registered and the matter is being probed, he said.

The three men said they came to Delhi in December last year and were staying in Sarai Rohilla. They have been coming here for business purposes for the last 10 years.

The three Kashmiri men approached Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Brinda Karat through their local MLA. Karat helped them file a complaint with police.

“The men claimed the attackers told them they were from the armed forces. They said ‘you are the ones who killed our men’.

“Around 15-20 other men also joined in and beat the Kashmiri men with belts. The incident took place when they were crossing Mangolpuri. One of the three Kashmiris suffered severe head injuries and another sustained wounds on face,” she said.

Police said the attackers were yet to be identified, and it was not clear if they were from the armed forces since they were in plain clothes.

 

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Non-locals protest against attacks on Kashmiris

Bisma Bhat

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Srinagar, Feb 20: Dozens of non-locals workers and businessmen putting up in Kashmir Wednesday carried out a peaceful protest against the harassment and attacks meted out to Kashmiris in different parts of India.

A large number of non-locals assembled at Hari Singh High Street here and raised slogans against miscreants attacking the students and businessmen of the valley operating in other states in wake of the Lethpora bombing last week.

They demanded the safety of Kashmiri traders and students outside the valley.

 

A Kolkata resident, Sushant Shanti, who is running a shop at Hari Singh High Street, told The Kashmir Monitor that they have been living in Kashmir for 25 years and have never faced any threat.

“I strongly condemn the atrocities that our Kashmiri youth and traders are facing outside Kashmir,” said Shanti, adding: “I request my Hindu brothers to ensure the safety of Kashmiris there.”

Another non local shopkeeper at Hari Singh High Street, Rajinder Kumar said: “Our Kashmiri brothers and students who are pursuing education in other states are facing extreme brutality and we strongly condemn this act of cowardice.”

Kumar said that some elements are politicizing the Lethpora incident.
“Whatever happens here, we have always been treated with brotherhood and humanity,” he said.

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