Hurriyat leaders announce march to Muzaffarabad

August 9th, 2008 - 10:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, Aug 9 (IANS) Blaming the central government for the “economic blockade” of the Kashmir Valley, the hardline and the moderate groups of the Hurriyat Conference Saturday announced they would march to Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-administered Kashmir Aug 11 with trucks carrying fruit that would otherwise rot. Addressing a joint press conference at the residence of Syed Ali Geelani, a senior separatist leader and chairman of the breakaway Hurriyat group, the separatist leaders said the “criminal negligence of the central government” had forced them to take this extreme step.

“The economic blockade of the Valley is an extreme form of terrorism that has snowballed into a serious situation. We have been forced by the economic blockade to march on the natural route to Muzaffarabad. Fruit-laden trucks from all major markets of the Valley shall begin their journey towards Muzaffarabad on Aug 11,” Geelani said.

He added the Kashmiri separatist leaders were for the unity of the three regions of Jammu and Kashmir but the crisis following violent protests in Jammu region had been forced on them.

Senior executive members of the moderate Hurriyat group including Shabir Ahmad Shah, Nayeem Khan and Sheikh Abdul Aziz were present during the press meet.

The separatist leaders, some local fruit growers, traders and hoteliers had earlier convened a meeting at Geelani’s residence to decide on their future course of action.

Jammu has witnessed violence following the state government’s July 1 decision to revoke an order allocating 40 hectares of forest land for the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB).

The land transfer, meant for providing facilities to pilgrims visiting the hill shrine of Lord Amarnath, had been revoked following violent protests in the Valley.

The five-week-long protests Jammu has led to what Hurriyat leaders term as economic blockade of the Valley, with fruit - the main produce of the region - rotting away in markets.

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