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Demand of separate state echoes from Indian-controlled Kashmir


08:39, August 01, 2013

SRINAGAR, Indian-controlled Kashmir, July 31 (Xinhua) -- A day after India's ruling coalition announced its decision to carve out Telangana state from the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, protests were held Wednesday in restive Indian-controlled Kashmir demanding division of the region.

The protests were staged by right-wing Hindu activists of Shiv Shena and Jammu Dogra Morcha in Jammu city, the winter capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir, demanding statehood for Jammu division.

"If Telangana can become a new state why can't our demand of a separate Jammu state be met," the VHP leaders asked.

The groups staged noisy protests in support of separate Jammu sate.

Indian-controlled Kashmir has three divisions, Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh.

However, the demand for separate state and bifurcation of Indian-controlled Kashmir was strongly opposed by separatist amalgam, Hurriyat (freedom) Conference, citing disputed nature of the region.

"We can't accept bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir as it is a disputed territory," said Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chairman of Hurriyat Conference addressing a seminar in Srinagar. "We understand the hidden agendas behind these demands and won't allow any such move."

Separatists in Indian-controlled Kashmir have been demanding an end of New Delhi's rule in the region.

Kashmir, the Himalayan region divided between India and Pakistan is claimed by both in full. Since their Independence from Britain, the two countries have fought three wars, two exclusively over Kashmir.

At present a guerrilla war is going on between militants and the Indian troops stationed in the region since 1989.

New Delhi's decision to bifurcate Andhara Pradesh has bolstered many regional parties who have started raising demands for separate states.

The Gorkha ethnic group in India's West Bengal state has already started a strike demanding separate state for Nepali- speaking Gorkhas in the tea-producing Darjeeling hills.

Indian-controlled Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Tuesday expressed his unhappiness over the separate statehood status to Telengana and feared it would bolster similar demand from the Jammu region.

"What will you tell the people of Jammu tomorrow if they agitate and come on roads for eight or 10 years? A separate state for Telengana hasn't been recommended by any authority or a commission, it is because of the agitation there," Abdullah told reporters.

"This has sent a message that if you agitate, you will get a separate state. This impression (of separate statehood) is being given in Bhundelkhand, Gurkhaland, Maharashtra and in Jammu and Kashmir as well."

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