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September 8, 2000
Kashmiris plan protests against PM in NY, Washington
Amberish K Diwanji in New York
Kashmiri separatist groups plan to stage demonstrations when Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee arrives at the United Nations to address the Millennium Summit on Friday.
The Kashmiri American Council, which is spearheading the protest outside the UN, also plans to hold a demonstration on September 15, at Lafayette Park, opposite the White House.
The latter demonstration will be held when Vajpayee is given a ceremonial welcome at the White House by United States President Bill Clinton.
Kashmiri American Council chief Ghulam Nabi Fai said the Kashmiris were holding the demonstrations to force the world to notice the Kashmir dispute and bring India to the negotiating table.
"We want that the world, and the US in particular, should force India to come to the negotiating table and get the Kashmir issue resolved," said Fai, whose group, the Kashmiri American Council, wants the independence of Kashmir.
The council is keen to get the US involved in the negotiations between India, Pakistani and Kashmiri representatives.
Fai said the demonstration in Washington was to protest at the welcome being given to Vajpayee by the US administration, "which would only push the issue back any resolution to the Kashmir issue."
Besides the Kashmiri groups, Fai said he expected to be joined by some pro-Khalistan groups and some Indian Christians who are keen to protest the attacks on Christians in India in recent months.
However, he admitted that support from the Khalistanis and from the Christian groups were limited and their demonstration more a show of ire.
The two Christian groups, who have planned demonstrations at the UN, are the Indian Christian Forum and the National Association of Asian Christians of USA.
On calling the office of the latter group, a recorded voice only said the groups plan to hold a day-long demonstration, starting from 1200 hours to 2000 hours, to coincide with Vajpayee's visit to the UN.
These two groups have not so far planned any demonstration in Washington.
rediff.com has assigned Associate Editors Amberish K Diwanji and Savera R Someshwar to cover Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's visit to the United States. Don't forget to log into rediff.com for news of this historic visit as it happens!
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