SRINAGAR (TIP): The crisis over the Jammu and Kashmir government’s proposed move to provide “separate homeland” to migrant Kashmiri Pandits (KPs) threatens to divide the state along communal lines.

Protests erupted in both the regions on April 10 in favour and against the proposed move.

In Srinagar, hundreds of protesters led by pro-independence JKLF chairman Yasin Malik clashed with security forces throughout the day. The police resorted to baton-charge and tear-gas shelling to stop the protesters marching towards city centre Lal Chowk.

The protesters, including some Kashmir Pandits, chanted slogans like “sang sang jiyengay sang sang marengay (we will live and die together).”

Later, the police arrested Malik along with several supporters and detained them in Kothibagh police station. Several people were reportedly injured during the clashes.

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Reports of similar protests came from several areas of the Valley on the call of hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Geelani, who asked people to hit the roads to protest the government’s decision.

Separatist organisations, including the JKLF and both factions of the Hurriyat Conference, have already called for a general strike in Kashmir Valley on Saturday. In Jammu, several KP organisations protested against the separatists and political parties opposed to the idea of a “composite township” in the Valley for the displaced community, said reports.

“We were forced to leave our homes 25 years ago and now, we want to go back. As the situation is not conducive for our return to our native places, we want a Jagti-type township in the Valley where we can go and live peacefully,” said the protesters.

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