J&K talks will continue: Centre

Quereshi refused security, says Omar Abdullah; protests hit life across Valley

J&K talks will continue: Centre


A protester holds pieces of bricks during a  protest against an attack on Fazal-Haq Quereshi, in Srinagar,  on Saturday. Reuters

Union Home Minister P Chidambaram made the statement in New Delhi while terming the  attack on Fazal Haq Quereshi, a leader of the pro-dialogue moderate faction of the Hurriyat Conference, cowardly.

Normal life was paralysed in most parts of Kashmir following a general strike called by the pro-dialogue moderate faction of the Hurriyat Conference protesting the attack on its leader Fazal Haq Quereshi.

Shops and other business establishments remained closed. Transport was also hit. Protest demonstrations were held at several places, and agitators clashed with police. Over a dozen persons sustained injuries.

The condition of Quereshi continued to be critical at Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS), Soura, where he is under treatment after the attack by the militants of Al-Mansoorain.

According to Dr Abdul Hamid Zargar, Director, SKIMS, the separatist leader has been put on ventilator. “We will try to remove the ventilator on Sunday if his condition improves,” he said.

In the light of the attack, security of all moderate separatist leaders is being reviewed. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has asked them to seek protection if they feel vulnerable. “The government had offered security to Quereshi, but he refused,” he said at a function here.

In New Delhi, a deeply distressed Chidambaram lambasting those behind the attack and said, “These are the elements which, in the past, have pushed Jammu and Kashmir to the brink of a crisis. It is also clear that these elements act at the behest of forces that are inimical to India”.

He said the attack was a cowardly attempt by those who do not wish that the problems of Jammu and Kashmir are resolved through talks.

Correct response

The Home Minister said the correct response at this hour was not to te cowed down by these violent acts or allow fear to interrupt the process of quiet talks and diplomacy.
“I assure the people of Jammu and Kashmir that we remain committed to finding a solution through quiet talks with every shade of political opinion in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.

Chief Minister Omar Abdulla hailed Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chairman of the moderate Hurriyat faction, for carrying forward talks despite assaults on his colleagues. He announced that the dialogue process would continue, and that the State Government would not succumb to pressure from militants.

National Conference (NC) president and Union minister Dr Farooq Abdullah described the attack on the Hurriyat leader as a terrorist act. He said the dialogue process must not get derailed by such incidents.

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said the attack was carried out by those elements who did not want a solution to the Kashmir issue and who felt threatened by peace. The solution to the issue could be worked out only through talks between the governments of India and Pakistan and the Kashmiris, he added.

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