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Terrorism & Security

Separatist leader rejects India’s Kashmir plan

Hardline separatist leader, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, dismisses India's Kashmir plan to ease security measures as an effort 'to hoodwink the international community.'

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After months of enduring criticism for its inaction, India’s central government Saturday announced a new plan for Kashmir, offering an eight-point proposal and appointing a group of “interlocutors” to begin dialogue in Kashmir, reports Indian daily The Hindu. The move came after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh sent a fact-finding mission to Kashmir and was announced after a security cabinet meeting. The proposal includes releasing students who have been detained during protests and dropping charges against them, and a review of security forces deployments.

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According to The Hindu, the prime minister said the cabinet did not discuss repealing the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), a law that gives security forces wide powers in “disputed areas,” including Kashmir. Separatist leaders in Kashmir say the law has been abused, and its repeal has been a key demand.

The New York Times reports that many in Kashmir are skeptical of the central government, and will wait to see if it follows through with Saturday’s proposal. Some outright rejected the offer to pay 5 lakh, or about $11,000, to families of protest victims.

Abid Nabi, 21, whose 18-year-old brother was shot and killed by the police in Srinagar, was not impressed and cautioned that the broader package from New Delhi might not defuse the protests.
 “I cannot sell the death of my brother for five lakh,” he said in a telephone interview. “I do not think that anybody in Kashmir will accept this money. I lost my 18-year-old brother. Many families lost boys who were 7, 8, or 9. Even if leaders will ask to stop protests, youths will defy them.”

Resolving the stituation in Kashmir may depend on the government’s ability to reach out to youths like Mr. Nabi.

Young people in Kashmir mobilized over the summer as they witnessed heavy-handed police tactics and the deaths of young protesters, reported the Christian Science Monitor in August.

This summer, hundreds of "rock pelters" ages 6 to 30 have clashed with security forces across Indian-controlled Kashmir.
These young men are determined to be the generation that wins self-determination for Kashmiris.



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