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August 9, 2000
Charri Mubarak departs amidst tight security
Onkar Singh in Srinagar
The final yatra (pilgrimage) of the Charri Mubarak began amidst tight security from Akhara building in Lal Chowk around 0730 hours (IST) on Wednesday morning. It was led by Mahant Dipinder Giri of Dashnami Akhara amidst chanting of Vedic Shlokas and blowing of conches.
Special pujas and a number of rituals were performed before the holy Charri commenced its final journey which would culminate in the Amarnath cave on August 15.
Security forces threw a tight cordon in the valley after the withdrawal of the ceasefire offer by Hizbul Mujahideen's supreme commander Syed Salahudin.
The All Party Hurriyat Conference executive committee met at the party headquarters in Srinagar for more then three hours in the afternoon. The meeting was attended by its top leaders and was presided over by its chairman Abdul Gani Bhat.
After the meeting, Hurriyat leaders refused to answer newspersons' queries. "We would meet next week in Delhi," was all that Bhat told rediff.com. He even refused to confirm or deny reports that the Centre had invited him for talks.
Significantly, another Hurriyat leader headed for Delhi is Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Yasin Malik. He is likely to be admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences for a kidney operation. Hurriyat leaders are likely to reach Delhi under different pretexts sometime next week.
Former union minister Saifuddin Soz regretted that withdrawal of the ceasefire offer just when the people in the valley had started seeing a ray of hope. "Majority of the people had welcomed the peace talks and were hoping for a positive outcome. Kashmir's is a complex problem and it has to be solved through negotiations," he said.
President of the People's Democratic Freedom Party Shabir Shah said the Centre forced the change in the Hizb's stance by insisting that the talks be held within the framework of the Indian constitution.
Syed Ali Shah Geelani of the APHC contested Home Minister L K Advani's charge that the Hurriyat has never been serious about holding talks, accusing the home minister of distorting reality by making such accusations. "The constitution of our party provides for the solution of the J&K problem through talks. However, Pakistan has to be involved if the talks are to be meaningful," he claimed.
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