May 2000 News

Militant groups warn Hurriyat against talks

8 May 2000
Times of India
Law Kumar Mishra

Srinagar: Even as moves are afoot to initiate a dialogue between the Union government and the All Party Hurriyat Conference, at least two militant groups have issued threats to the pro-talks organisations against entering into any bilateral negotiations with the government. The warning from the Al-Umar Mujahideen and Al Fateh Force came on Monday, barely 24 hours after Union home minister L K Advani''s visit to Srinagar. Without naming the All Party Hurriyat Conference, the two groups said in separate press statements that those entering into direct talks with the government of India would be ''punished''. The two militant organisations said Pakistan should be involved in any talks on the Kashmir issue. Al-Umar Mujahideen is headed by Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar, who was released in December in exchange for the hostages for the hijacked Indian Airlines plane in Kandahar. Meanwhile, the state secretariat offices here opened on Monday after six months following the ''darbar move'' from Jammu. Chief minister Farooq Abdullah visited the secretariat and presided over a cabinet meeting, which decided to roll back the hike in PDS prices. Although the day was incident-free, there was panic following the discovery of a scooter bomb opposite the police control room, 200 metres away from the state secretariat. The CM said necessary arrangements had been made to ward off any attacks. Srinagar SSP B Sreeniwas told The Times of India News Service that the militants had parked the scooter fitted with an improvised explosive device outside the control room. The scooter had earlier been stolen from the Chanpura area in the town. The explosive device was defused by the bomb disposal squad without any damage. The SSP said the militants wanted to test the vigilance of the security forces on the occasion of ''darbar move''. They may also be planning something bigger, he added. Last year, the militants had attacked the state secretariat three times with rockets and grenades, killing three people.


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