Hurriyat hawk softens on pandits

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  • Published 2.03.08

Srinagar, March 2: Kashmiri pandits looking to return to the Valley have found support from an unexpected quarter.

Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani not only wants them back, he has urged them to mingle with other residents.

“We would in no way like to keep our brethren pandits away from us. They should prefer to live like the rest of Kashmiris and not in security zones,’’ the chairman of the hardline Hurriyat faction said in a statement issued to a local news agency.

Although Geelani has never voiced opposition to the return of pandits, he had said it would not be possible for Kashmir’s majority community to provide them protection, indicating that they would have to be responsible for their security.

However, Panun Kashmir Movement (PKM), which is championing the cause of a separate homeland for pandits in the Valley, said Geelani’s statement would not make them budge from their stand.

“We are indigenous Kashmiris. Kashmir belongs to us and we do not need any invitation from anybody,’’ PKM president Ashwini Churungoo said.