Mufti calls on PM, seeks release of detained separatists

November 5th, 2008 - 10:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew Delhi, Nov 5 (IANS) Former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Mufti Mohammed Sayeed Wednesday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here and sought release of political leaders arrested for anti-election campaign in the state.”Such strong-arm policy would only vitiate the already charged atmosphere in the state,” a press statement from the Mufti’s party quoted him as telling the prime minister.

“Democracy is a battle of ideas and every section of the society should be free to express his views in a free and fair manner,” he said, adding any contrary impression could prove counterproductive, especially when the electoral process is on.

Various separatist leaders, including Jamu and Kashmir Liberation front chief Yasin Malik, have been detained under the Public Safety Act in Kashmir, where polling for the new assembly begins Nov 17.

Mufti presented Manmohan Singh a copy of the “self-rule” vision document released by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) recently.

Mufti, the PDP patron, discussed with the prime minister the contours of the proposal and “its expediency in addressing, both the internal and external dimensions, of the Kashmir issue”, a party statement said.

He stressed the need for making the cross-border movement, between two Kashmirs divided between India and Pakistan, “more meaningful and hassle-free”.

“Academicians, students, cultural groups, civil society activists, tourists, journalists and traders should be allowed to move between the two parts of the state without any restrictions,” he told the prime minister, according to the statement.

“After having initiated the process of pulling down the physical barriers, it is imperative that exchange of ideas should now take place on a wider scale to eliminate the psychological barriers between the people of the two parts of the state.”

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