Saturday, February 23

Indian Kashmir separatists get boost from Kosovo independence

Sadly, this is what I predicted!

Read and weep!

Separatists in Indian Kashmir said Saturday Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence has bolstered their resolve to achieve the same status for the disputed Himalayan territory.

Kosovo last Sunday declared independence from Serbia, which vowed never to recognise the move.

Kosovo's independence declaration has "strengthened our resolve to achieve freedom for Kashmir," leading Kashmiri separatist Shabir Shah told AFP.

Several countries including the United States and Britain have recognised Kosovo as a new state, but India said it was studying the legal ramifications.

India is wary of recognising Kosovo as an independent state because of its possible ramifications for scenic Kashmir, which has been racked by a nearly two-decade-old revolt against New Delhi's rule.

Nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan, which have fought two wars for control of the Muslim-majority region each, hold parts of the territory but claim it in full.

"Kosovo's independence is an indicator that struggles based on truth and justice never fail," Shah said, adding that the day is not "far when Kashmiris will be free."

Shah, 54, who heads the pro-independence Democratic Freedom Party, is dubbed the "Nelson Mandela" of Kashmir after spending more than 20 years in Indian jails.

Another separatist leader, Syed Ali Geelani, also said he was delighted by Kosovo's independence proclamation, saying the "creation of a Muslim state within the European heartland has strengthened our resolve to achieve our right to self-determination."

Geelani, however, wants Indian Kashmir to break away from India and join the neighbouring Islamic republic of Pakistan

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