We Don't Need Your Advice, Indian Clerics Told

Srinagar, Oct 11 (IANS): Separatist leaders in Jammu and Kashmir have rejected suggestions from Indian clerics that the Kashmir dispute needs to be resolved within the ambit of the Indian constitution.

Even as they hailed Indian Muslim leaders for criticising the security forces for high-handedness and killings, the separatist leaders have asked the clerics not to get involved in Kashmir's "freedom struggle".

The remarks came a day after the Darul Uloom Deoband and the Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Hind (JUH) sought the axing of the draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in Jammu and Kashmir.

But they insisted that Jammu and Kashmir, India's only Muslim majority state, was an integral part of India and that the demands of the Kashmiris should be addressed within the framework of the Indian constitution.

The Darul Uloom Deoband is the spiritual headquarters of Sunni Islam while the Jamiat is its influential social front.

"I salute the concern shown by Indian Muslims against the excesses committed on the freedom-seeking people of Kashmir," Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik told IANS.

"At the same time, I would appeal to the Indian Muslims not to offer solutions to the political issue of Kashmir," he said. "I fully understand their limitations in this regard."

Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, chairman of the moderate Hurriyat group, said: "Indian Muslims are faced with limitations of their own. Still, they have raised their voice against atrocities, excesses and the AFSPA.

"We welcome this. Yet we do not expect they can afford to get actively involved in our freedom movement. They have spoken of a solution within the Indian constitution which is not in conformity with our stand."

Mirwaiz Umer said the separatist leaders would soon launch a campaign in India to dispel the impression that whatever is happening in Jammu and Kashmir is at the behest of Pakistan.

The common Kashmiris have welcomed the Darul Uloom's and Jamiat's criticism of the excesses by Indian security forces, who are accused of killing more than 100 civilians in street protests in the Kashmir Valley since June.

"It (JUH) has understood our pain and sufferings which is definitely going to act as a balm on our bruised wounds," said Muzaffar Ahmad, a college teacher here.

"It is for the first time the Muslims in India have spoken so forcefully about our problems," said Master Habibullah, 65, a retired school teacher.

Indian Muslims have traditionally kept a safe distance from the dragging separatist campaign in Jammu and Kashmir that has left thousands dead since 1989. But many Indian Muslim leaders have denounced the killing of innocents in Kashmir.

India, home to the world's second largest Muslim population after Indonesia, accuses Pakistan of backing the Kashmir insurgency with weapons and money. Islamabad says it only gives political and moral support.



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Title: We Don't Need Your Advice, Indian Clerics Told

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