Separatists say stir for Afzal's body to continue



Srinagar: Separatists on Tuesday said they will continue with their stir to press for return of mortal remains of Parliament attack convict Mohammad Afzal Guru, a day after Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde ruled out handing over the body to his family.

"Kashmiri people will not give up their legitimate demand for the return of Guru's body and will continue the peaceful struggle in this regard," Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umer Farooq said in a statement after a meeting here.

The meeting, chaired by former chairman Prof Abdul Gani Bhat in the absence of the Mirwaiz who is under house arrest, rejected the statement of the Union Home Minister.

The statement said Kashmir is the core issue in the sub-continent and the main reason of animosity between India and Pakistan.

"The entire South Asian region is standing on a heap of explosives due to lingering Kashmir issue. The need of the hour is to demonstrate political maturity and farsightedness and seek a fair solution to the issue for peace in the region," it said.

JKLF headed by Mohammad Yasin Malik also denounced Shinde's statement.

"Shinde's assertion that the government followed jail manual is meaningless," the outfit said. Accusing the Minister of double speak, it asked, "Where was the jail manual when he (Shinde) offered Ajmal Kasab's body to Pakistan?"

Hardline Hurriyat Conference Chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani also criticised the Home Minister.

"The demand for return of mortal remains of Mohammad Maqbool Bhat and Afzal Guru is essentially a humane issue but the Indian rulers... Are involved in electoral politics to score points over their opposition," he said in a statement.

PTI