December 2000 News

Ready to join the road to peace: Hurriyat

17 December 2000
The Hindu
Shujaat Bukhari

JAMMU: The All Party Hurriyat Conference, reiterating its stand on ceasefire, today swore by unity and said it would join any of the comprehensive, meaningful and result-oriented political process aimed at finding a permanent solution to the Kashmir issue. ''If the announcement is in tune with peace, prosperity, restoration of good neighbourly relations and serious efforts devoid of traditional politics are made to resolve the issue, it reflects the positive change in the thinking of Indian leadership,'' a statement issued after the meeting of the APHC executive, which witnessed clashes between supporters of the pro- independence JKLF and the pro-Pakistani groups, said. At least six persons were injured when police intervened to quell the clashes which erupted soon after the meeting ended. Reports said that though the meeting ended on a positive note with all the seven members agreeing to what was said in response to the Prime Minister, Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee''s ceasefire announcement on November 21, the rival supporters took to sloganeering, leading to scuffle. While pro- Pakistan supporters raised slogans like ''Pakistan Zindabad'', those from the JKLF responded with ''Kashmir Banega Khudmukhtar (Kashmir will be independent)''. Initially, the sloganeering was confined to the APHC headquarters at Rajbagh, but both the groups later came on the street and indulged in fist-fighting. Police intervened and resorted to baton charging. The SSP, Srinagar, Dr. B. Srinivas, confirmed that police had to intervene in order to maintain law and order. One supporter of Mr. Mohammed Yaseen Malik was injured in the clash, he said and denied that any of them was arrested. The Hurriyat spokesman, however, was silent on this development. The pro-Pakistan groups which are in Hurriyat include the Jamat-e-Islami, People''s League, Islamic Student''s League and the Muslim League. Earlier, the APHC spokesman, Sheikh Abdur Rasheed, read out a statement after the meeting chaired by its chairman, Prof. Abdul Gani Butt, and attended by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Syed Ali Geelani, Mr. Abdul Gani Lone, Mr. Mohammad Yaseen Malik, Moulvi Abbas Ansari and Sheikh Abdul Aziz. He said that the latest situation arising out of the ceasefire and maximum restrain announcement by India and Pakistan was discussed. The Hurriyat understands that besides holding a dialogue with the Indian and Pakistani Governments, its leadership should also be given a chance to interact with militant leaders so that this process is made meaningful. But no formal request was made to the Government for allowing the leaders to visit Pakistan. The spokesman said that the conspiracies against the Hurriyat Conference would be fought with all the unity at its command. No one will be allowed to succeed in their sinister design to break the Hurriyat. The Hurriyat has not moved an inch forward from its earlier stand which was seen as ''positive''. No concrete proposal came for initiating a dialogue with either India or Pakistan or the militant leaders. Sources said that the Hurriyat executive will again meet after three days as today''s meeting mostly discussed the issues arising out after the statements from its leaders given in different directions.


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