Srinagar, April 2 (IANS) Economic empowerment is an imperative and once this hapens, political empowerment will follow, separatist leader and People's Conference chairman Sajad Lone said Monday.
Justifying his decision to start a civic awareness campaign, which he launched here Sunday, Lone told IANS: 'I honestly believe that the system in Kashmir is based on economic persecution.'
'Our economic system is completely governed by the government. People who behave are economically rewarded and people who do not behave politically (who are not in sync with the government) are economically punished,' Lone said.
'There simply is no democracy and this is one of the main reasons for the absence of any private enterprise here,' he said.
'The government has been building a mall on four acres of prime land in Srinagar and the mall is yet to become fully functional even after a decade,' Lone said.
Addressing a rally here Sunday, he said the government through various departments and arms had left no stone unturned to harass, suffocate and persecute the inhabitants of green belt in Srinagar.
Green belt is an area around the Dal Lake in the city around which any further construction for residential or commercial purposes has been banned by the state, to preserve the fast shrinking of the Lake.
Asked why he decided to focus attention on civic amenities and preservation of the local heritage so late, Lone said: 'Call it circumstances, experience or lack of experience.'
It is encouraging that besides their political agenda, the local separatist leaders have also of late been highlighting the day to day problems faced by the people.
Senior separatist leader and chairman of the breakaway Hurriyat group, Syed Ali Geelani last month spoke of the choked city roads and expressed grave concern at the increasing number of road accidents in the state.
Geelani wanted the state government to construct more roads and widen the existing ones to prevent accidents.
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