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Ahamed's statement on Kashmir draws flak from separatists

Written by: Staff
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Srinagar, Aug 25 (UNI) Union Minister of State for External Affairs E Ahamed's statement that Kashmir is ''an integral part of India'' has evoked strong reactions from separatist and militant groups.

The moderate faction of the Hurriyat Conference, led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, termed the statement as a ''vain attempt to distort the historical realities''.

''It could be out of his political compulsion or expediency that the Minister issued such a statement. But, the fact remains that such statements cannot have any impact on the disputed status of Jammu and Kashmir, nor could these bring about any change in the concrete realities,'' a Hurriyat spokesman said in a statement here.

Reacting to the statement, the Hurriyat Conference faction, led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani, termed it ''highly condemnable''.

''India is not ready to budge an inch from its stubborn policy.

On the one hand, new proposals are coming up every day and on the other, New Delhi is harping on Atoot Ang (integral part) policy,'' a Hurriyat (Geelani faction) spokesman said in a statement here.

The Hizbul Mujahideen, the single largest indigenous militant group, said Kashmir was not an integral part of India. ''Presence of more than seven lakh troops in the state is its proof,'' Hizb spokesman Junaid-ul-Islam said in a statement to a local news agency, Current News Service (CNS), here.

The spokesman said the UN resolutions and statements of Indian leaders clearly prove that Kashmir is a ''disputed territory''.

''India does not want peace in the region and uses peace rhetoric to fulfill its designs,'' he alleged.

The Minister's statement should serve as ''an eye-opener'' to those who believe in round-table conferences and dialogue process, the spokesman added.

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