Kashmiris donate blood for tsunami victims
6 January 2005
The News International
Srinagar: Dozens of supporters of a prominent Kashmiri separatist group flocked to a makeshift dispensary to donate blood and money on Thursday for those affected by the tsunami in India. Many of the donors said they especially could sympathise with the suffering of the tsunami victims because of their homeland's 15-year insurgency. 'We have been victims of death ourselves, so we can understand the pain of the people affected by the tsunami,' said a young man, as he lay on a bed donating a pint of blood at a camp organized by the Jammu-Kashmir Liberation Front in Srinagar. 'We can understand the pain of having disappeared relatives. We see death daily,' said another donor, Shakeel Ahmad, as he waited for a vacant bed to give blood. The JKLF, a former militant group, is one of the main separatist groups demanding Kashmir's independence from India. The front gave up violence in 1994. Yasin Malik, chairman of the JKLF, said 100 pints of blood and 100,000 rupees ($2,270) will be sent to the tsunami victims through non-government organizations. 'It is a human gesture and in keeping with our traditions to help those facing hardship,' said Malik, who organized a similar blood drive in New York, following the Sept 11 attack on the World Trade Centre.