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June 24, 2000
Shankaracharya to gauge mood in Kashmir
In an attempt to gauge the mood of the All-Parties Hurriyat Conference on the Kashmir issue, the shankaracharya of Gobardhan Peetham, Swami Nischalanand Saraswati, will visit the valley from tomorrow and hold talks with Syed Ali Shah Geelani and other separatist politicians on resolving the crisis.
The swami, who will be accompanied by Pandit N K Sharma, former political secretary to P V Narasimha Rao, will also meet leaders of various other political groups to ascertain their views on the proposed talks with the Centre and the security situation in the valley.
Geelani has invited the shankaracharya and Sharma, who was instrumental in arranging the meeting. They will exchange views with the full executive of the APHC on Monday.
One of the emissaries of the shankaracharya, Maulana Akhtar Hussain Dehlvi, is currently in Srinagar to prepare the agenda for the talks and chalk out the programme for the swami and Pt Sharma in the valley, where violence has increased in the past few weeks.
The shankaracharya, who has launched a strong movement against the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, is keen to play a greater role in bringing about peace and harmony in the state, Sharma said.
The shankaracharya had gone to Jammu and Kashmir last month to meet representatives of various communities to create an atmosphere of amity and brotherhood. But when he wanted to proceed to the valley, he was denied permission by the state government on security grounds. The government said it was inadvisable to travel on such short notice.
Sharma is also in touch with the Kashmiri separatists and other politicians, seeking their help to end the violence in the state and find a lasting solution to the problem.
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