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Intimidation of Kashmiris unacceptable: Sajad Lone

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“Don’t corner Kashmiris by attacking their sense of dignity”

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Jammu, Feb 18: Peoples’ Conference chairman Sajad Gani Lone on Monday said that intimidation and harassment of Kashmiri students, professionals and families living outside Kashmir was unacceptable and cannot be passed off as a purportedly natural outburst.

“These incidents are tantamount to trivialising the enormous sufferings and the pain suffered by the people of Kashmir over the period of last three decades while their lives were engulfed by the scourge of violence and terror. They have been at the receiving end of the devastation that comes with a prolonged conflict and they have borne the brunt.

“To attack them (Kashmiris), single them out and harass them is shameful and those behind such mob-mentality and bullying should be dealt with in the strongest manner,” Sajad Gani Lone said Monday on arrival in Jammu where he is going to reach out to members of the community to ensure their safety and security.

“If stone pelting is wrong in Kashmir, it is equally wrong in Jammu and should attract the same legal and administrative response. What is wrong in Kashmir can’t be deemed acceptable and tolerable in Jammu. Law and Order is the subject of the State administration and they need to ensure there is zero tolerance for these mobs in Jammu and those who are involved are arrested and persecuted,” Lone added.

He said all State governments are duty-bound to ensure the safety and security of all Kashmiri students, professionals and families residing in their respective states and no laxity should be tolerated in this matter.

“I have spoken to various state government authorities and police authorities in various states and sought foolproof safety and security of Kashmiri students and families in those states,” the PC chairman added.

Lone also said he cannot support the decision to withdraw security to separatists.

The security cover of six separatist leaders, including Sajad Lone’s elder brother Bilal Lone, was withdrawn Sunday.

“It is their (government’s) decision (withdrawing security to separatists) but personally as far as I am concerned, I have lost my father and I cannot support it because I will never support violence of any sort against anyone,” said Lone, whose father Abdul Gani Lone was assassinated in 2002 during a rally to mark the death anniversary of former Mirwaiz of Kashmir Moulvi Mohammad Farooq in Srinagar. Moulvi Farooq, father of Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, was assassinated in 1990.

“The security of my father was lowered in 2002 and after a few months, I received his body at home. I am not in a position to defend this decision (withdrawal of security),” the Lone said, adding that “had I not been provided security, I would not have fought the elections because I would not have been alive then”.

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