Hizbul Warning: Stop Census In Jammu And Kashmir
3 September 2000
Times of India
Law Kumar Mishra
Srinagar: The Hizbul Mujahideen on Sunday imposed a ban on census operations in the state beginning on September 11, threatening to use force if government employees participated in the exercise and the people cooperated with the census staff in violation of its curbs. In a release issued here, the Kashmir unit of the militant outfit said it was deeply concerned over the ''irresponsible'' attitude of the state government, which wanted to go ahead with the census operations. It urged the government to cancel the census, as it would be a wastage of time and resources. The state government has marshalled over 22,000 staff for the census, the first in 20 years. The Hizb claimed the atmosphere is not conducive for the census as a large number of people have fled the Valley, thousands have crossed over to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and thousands have been either killed or fled out of fear of the security forces. Under such conditions, a reliable census cannot be held, it said. According to the organisation, census is a conspiracy against the Muslim community of the state. Meanwhile, five foreign militants were killed in encounters with the security forces in Anantnag and Budgam districts on Sunday. According to the police, three security personnel were injured. Two members of the Laskhar-e-Taiba were killed at Kulgam in Anantnag and three militants from Multan in Pakistan were shot dead at Mir Bazar in Budgam. Director-General of Police Gurbachan Jagat has claimed the militant outfit, Hizbul Momineen, a predominantly Shia outfit, was responsible for the landmine blast at Pattan on Friday evening, in which three persons were killed and a prominent Shia leader, Maulvi Iftikhar Ansari, was injured.