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Hurriyat calls for R-Day protest

Mukhtar Ahmad | January 24, 2004 20:45 IST

Even as the leaders of the Moulvi Abbas Ansari-led faction of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference expressed satisfaction over the progress of the dialogue with Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani, the conglomerate struck to its old stand  by appealing for a shut down on the eve of Republic Day.

In a statement released in Srinagar Saturday the Hurriyat asked Kashmiris "to remain indoors to assert their right to freedom as promised by the international community and India".

The statement said this "protest call was in line with historic tradition of separatist politics in Kashmir and the aspirations of the locals who had been registering their protest on such occasions for last 56 years".

The faction led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani has already called for a general strike Monday to coincide with Republic Day.

Significance is being attached to the statement since the five prominent leaders of the group are still in New Delhi.

Before their departure to Delhi, the Abbas-led faction had made no comment on the protest call and this had led to media speculation that as a goodwill gesture the group had decided not to call for a protest this year.

Meanwhile, despite extraordinary security arrangements unidentified militants shot at and killed a Border Security Force trooper on the Hyderpora by-pass Saturday evening.

The BSF early Saturday morning recovered a huge quantity of ammunition and  explosives during a raid which a spokesman said was "meant for attacks in and around Srinagar city on the eve of Republic Day.



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