Kashmir part of India: Deoband clerics

"India is like a bouquet of different types of flowers. We just cannot think of allowing any one of the flowers to be separated," renowned Islamic scholar Abdul Rahim Bastawi said at a large assembly of Islamic clerics and scholars at the seminary in Uttar Pradesh's Saharanpur district, about 400 km from Lucknow.

Sponsored by clerics' group Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, the assembly was convened essentially to discuss Kashmir and the problems facing the state. Apart from clerics drawn from different parts of Uttar Pradesh, the participants at the meet included those from Uttarakhand, Bihar, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh.

Jamiat leader Mahmood Madani said that the Kashmir issue could not be addressed without taking Indian Muslims on board. A resolution passed at the meet said that "the long pending demands of Kashmiri people need to be addressed within the framework of the constitution of India".

Addressing the meet, senior journalist M.J. Akbar said: "If it is about getting a fair deal and justice to Kashmiris, we are 100  percent with Kashmir. If it is about separation, we are 1,000 percent against it."

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