Kashmiri separatists hail Kadhafi's UN marathon
A marathon UN diatribe by Libya's Moamer Kadhafi may have been too much for other world leaders in the audience, but in Indian Kashmir it seems to have won him an enthusiastic fan base, AFP reported.
Kadhafi berated Western powers for an hour and 35 minutes from the General Assembly podium on Wednesday in a speech covering issues as diverse as John F. Kennedy's assassination, swine flu and his support for Kashmiri independence.
While a number of delegates found themselves unable to sit through the entire performance, separatist leaders far away in Indian Kashmir were united in praise for his ringing endorsement of their struggle.
"Kashmir should be an independent state, not Indian, not Pakistani. We should end this conflict," Kadhafi told the assembly.
His remarks were splashed over the front pages of Kashmir's leading dailies on Friday, as separatist leaders applauded.
"We hail this brave and valiant leader for his bold advocacy of Kashmiris? wishes and aspirations," said Yasin Malik, head of pro-independence political party the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front.
"Such statements from international leaders provide solace and satisfaction to the oppressed people of Kashmir," said Malik.
Seen as one of the world's most dangerous flashpoints, Kashmir has been the trigger for two wars between India and Pakistan, who control divided portions of the region and claim the territory in full.
A 20-year armed separatist insurgency in the Indian-administered section has claimed 47,000 lives.
While some of the most powerful militant groups favour accession to Pakistan, the majority of Muslims in Indian Kashmir support independence from both the South Asian rivals.
"Independence is the only viable solution," said separatist leader Javed Mir.
Syed Ali Geelani, a hardline separatist, said the Libyan leader had set an example for others to follow.
"Not only Kadhafi, but the world leaders, especially those from Muslim nations, should play an active role in the resolution of the Kashmir issue," Geelani said.