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Hurriyat strike to greet PM

Srinagar, Aug. 25: A day after inclining towards talks with the Centre, the All Parties’ Hurriyat Conference today called a general strike in Kashmir on Wednesday to coincide with the Prime Minister’s visit.

The decision will almost certainly stop Atal Bihari Vajpayee from inviting Hurriyat leaders for a direct dialogue during his visit.

The separatist conglomerate said in a statement here: “Visits and meetings of VVIPs to Kashmir will not lead to resolution of Kashmir problem. The visits are aimed to convey an impression that (the) situation in Kashmir has improved.”

“The Prime Minister should fulfil his promise he made here during his previous visit wherein he had promised to resolve the Kashmir issue.”

Yesterday, minister of state for home I.D. Swami had said that Vajpayee would not “shy away” from meeting anybody when he goes to Srinagar. The condition was that separatists should first approach .. Vohra, Delhi’s interlocutor on Kashmir.

Chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has been advocating a direct dialogue between the Prime Minister and the Hurriyat.

The Hurriyat urged people to observe a complete shutdown on the day Vajpayee is scheduled to attend the inter-state council meeting here.

The meeting, to be attended by all chief ministers, will be held outside Delhi for the first time.

At Kanthol Kandi in Rajouri district, militants today ambushed an army patrol, killing a captain and two soldiers on the spot, police said.

Three armymen who suffered serious injuries in the exchange of fire were rushed to hospital, they said, and the area was scoured by security forces.

In Naushera sector of Gurez in Baramullah district, some militants tried to infiltrate to India across the Line of Control. The army intercepted them, provoking a gun-battle. A soldier and a militant died while a major and two soldiers were seriously wounded.

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