Kashmiri separatist leader reacts sharply on panel's autonomy proposal

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Srinagar, Dec 26 (ANI): The All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) Chairman, Mirwaiz Omar Farooq has reacted sharply to recommendations made by a high level committee favouring autonomy for the state.

Talking to reporters here on Friday, Farooq said their agenda is "freedom, not autonomy".The agenda of Hurriyat has never been autonomy, our agenda is freedom so we didn't want to give any comment on it," he added.

"We accept only that solution in which Pakistan, India and people of Kashmir are involved... Any solution between two parties, either between India and Pakistan or between Pakistan and Kashmiri people, will not be accepted," he said.

The Working Group, which submitted its report to Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Wednesday, is reported to have recommended autonomy for Kashmir.

Kashmir was given autonomous powers in all sectors excluding defence, communication and foreign affairs but over the years, the powers had diminished.

But the PM's group, headed by former Supreme Court judge S. Saghir Ahmad, is reported to favour restoring autonomy to the Himalayan region.

Kashmir's ruling National Conference has been championing for autonomy since 2000 when it moved a resolution to support the demand.

The panel is also reported to have undertaken a review of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution granting Special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

Article 370 specifies that except for Defence, Foreign Affairs and Communications (matters specified in the instrument of accession), the Parliament needs the state government's concurrence for applying all other laws.

Thus the state's residents live under a separate set of laws, including those related to citizenship, ownership of property, and fundamental rights, as compared to other Indians. (ANI)

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