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Kashmir leaders hopeful after Ossetia, Abkhazia independence

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SRINAGAR: Most Kashmiri leaders are drawing inspiration from the latest global developments including the daring bids of independence by South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Referring to the political upheaval in the Caucasian region, Hurriyat (G) Chairman Syed Ali Geelani termed the development as “coming into being of new nations despite subjugation and suppression”. “Independence of these new states within Europe has reinforced the resolve of the people of Kashmir to achieve their right to self-determination,” said Geelani.

He said independence for East Timor, Kosovo and the Caucasus regions showed “resistance based on historical evidence and honesty is successful. The day is not far when Kashmir wins freedom,” said Geelani. Following its brief war with Georgia, Russia on August 26 recognized two regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent.

“The independence declaration of these two regions is a psychological inspiration for the suppressed Kashmiris,” said Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) Chairman, Muhammad Yasin Malik. The move had strengthened Kashmiri’s resolve to achieve independence from India, he added.

When Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia earlier this year, the United States and Britain were quick to recognize it. More than 40 other countries also have done so but India is not among them. “Freedom of these countries serves as an eye-opener to those who rule out the possibility of an independent Kashmir,” said Malik.

Peoples Conference Chairman Sajjad Gani Lone said independence movements in South Ossetia and Abkhazia proved that small countries could exist alongside giant ones. Some argue that an independent Kashmir can not survive but this is a myth, he said. “Developments in Kosovo, Abkhazia and South Ossetia have boosted independence sentiments here,” he said.

But Peoples Democratic Party General Secretary Nizamuddin Bhat said Kashmir and Caucasian region can not be compared as their histories and origin of conflicts are different. He conceded that India and Pakistan had failed to act and resolve the issue. “Kashmir dispute has been allowed to linger for several decades. This of late culminated into massive separatist rallies in the Valley,” he said.-SANA

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