About 100 activists and sympathisers of the pro-independence Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) queued up on Thursday outside the party headquarters at Maisuma, a congested locality of capital Srinagar, to wait for their turn to donate blood.
“The response to our call is tremendous. Scores of our members and supporters are arriving to donate,” prominent Kashmiri separatist leader and JKLF chief Muhammad Yasin Malik said.
A government doctor confirmed that the arrangements had been made to collect only 100 pints of blood.
“We are unable to take in more,” he said to the disappointment of several willing donors.
JKLF, which kicked off the 16-year-old rebellion in the divided Himalayan state, announced that it has also raised Indian Rs100,000 to be sent to the tsunami victims of Andaman and Nicobar islands and other affected areas of India.
The death toll from the tsunami
“It is only be a token relief money,” Malik said.
He has spent several years in Indian jails for espousing the cause of independence for predominantly Muslim Kashmir.
Special prayer meetings were held throughout last week across Indian-administered-Kashmir for those killed by the tsunami.
Last Friday’s sermons in mosques across Kashmir were focused on the huge human suffering brought by the deadly seismic sea waves.
Both separatist and pro-Indian political groups have issued public appeals for donations for the relief and rehabilitation of the tsunami victims.
“We the people of Kashmir should not lag behind in this noble work,” prominent separatist leader Sayid Shabir Ahmad Shah said.
He was the only Kashmiri separatist leader who visited earthquake-hit Bhuj area in India’s Gujarat state a few years ago.
Chief Minister Mufti Sayid (in blue
Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayid has donated Indian Rs10 million from the state’s exchequer to the (Indian) Prime Minister’s relief fund.
He said, “It’s a national tragedy and we must come forward to share the grief of our countrymen.”
Mufti Sayid’s coalition partner in the government – the Congress party and its youth wing – has decided to launch a fund-raising drive in across Kashmir for the victims of this tragedy.
India on Thursday said the estimated financial losses in mainland states from the tsunami disaster are at $1.1 billion.
A government statement issued in New Delhi said the preliminary losses in four affected states, namely Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Pondicherry, totalled Rs532.2 billion or $1.1 billion.
The worst affected is the southern state of Tamil Nadu, where almost 8000 people lost their lives and many villages were washed away. The estimated losses there are at over Rs273 billion or $581 million.