June 2000 News

J&K cannot be divided, says Hurriyat leader

22 June 2000
Hindustan Times

Srinagar: ALL PARTIES Hurriyat Conference senior leader Abdul Ghani Lone on Thursday claimed that the party had an ''ideal solution to the Kashmir crisis, but wouldn''t reveal it till three parties - India, Pakistan and the Hurriyat - sit across the table.'' That situation can emerge only if the Government of India concedes that Kashmir is a disputed territory and agrees to tripartite talks. While addressing a Press conference, Mr Lone said the Hurriyat did not support any move to trifurcate state and again rejected autonomy as a solution to Kashmir. Regarding any dialogue with the Centre, Mr Lone denied that there was any communication between the two sides. He said that the dialogue offer appeared to be a sham and a cover to ''the continuing custodial killings''. He also announced that the Hurriyat may call an indefinite general strike or organise a people?s march to protest against these custodial deaths. Mr Lone said that the Hurriyat had prevailed upon Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik to postpone his indefinite hunger strike till July 13. Mr Lone said that for the Hurriyat, Jammu and Kashmir was a single entity and could not be divided. He said that autonomy was never an issue with the people of Kashmir. He said the current ''freedom struggle'' started in 1988, a time when substantial amount of autonomy already existed. This explained why autonomy was a non-issue for the Kashmiris, he added. But he disagreed that the ''erosion of autonomy led to the current turmoil in the Kashmir Valley''. Mr Lone said that the Hurriyat''s stand was clear: Kashmir was a disputed territory. It was neither part of India nor Pakistan. To him, the talks within the limits of the Indian Constitution meant ''denial of dialogue, for our whole struggle is against the Constitution of India''. Noisy scenes in House: acrimonious scenes were witnessed in the Asembly today as Opposition bjp and ruling National Conference leaders were involved in heated exchanges forcing the chair to adjourn the assembly before schedule close. ''When ballots are not respected, then guns start booming and this is what we are seeing today''. said Education Minister Mohammad Shafi Uri, who wanted India to utilise the ''window of opportunity'' by restoring autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir. While Shafi presented the horrors of non-fulfilment of promises in the course of his arguments for the early restoration of greater autonomy to win hearts of the people, Panthers Party leader Harsh Dev Singh tore apart all arguments in defence of autonomy playing on his legal knowledge and rhetoric. He described the State Autonomy Committee report as ''the most controversial document of the century''. Mr Singh wondered for whom the National Conference was asking for autonomy when the people in none of the regions were supporting the idea. ''If you call yourselves Indians'', he asked of the Treasury Benches, ''why don''t you seek full integration of India. The country holds best hope for all the faiths''.


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