April 2001 News

Violence won’t help resolve Kashmir issue: 72 hijacker

13 April 2001
The Indian Express
Nazir Masoodi

Srinagar: Hashim Qureshi, the man who hijacked an Indian Airlines flight out of Srinagar in 1972, says that if invited, he was willing to talk to the Government towards achieving a solution for the Kashmir problem. In an interview to The Indian Express at the high-security joint interrogation centre (JIC) at Harinawas, Qureshi said he was against any kind of violence and favoured dialogue to solve the Kashmir issue. ‘‘I will participate in negotiations if they call me. But...they have to invite me formally,’’ Qureshi said, adding: ‘‘All parties should initiate talks with the Centre. Entering into a dialogue does not mean that we are going to compromise on our stand. (But) we should shun violence and give negotiations a chance.’’ He categorically denounced militancy and said that violence would lead the Kashmiri people nowhere. ‘‘It is compounding our problem rather than solving it. The people have no interest in militancy but they are sandwiched in it,’’ he said, adding that the youth in jails preferred to live a peaceful life and were not rejoining militants’ ranks. ‘‘Less than five per cent of the jailed youth rejoin militancy. No one bothers for the people languishing in jails,’’ he said. ‘‘Even suicide attacks on security forces have helped in fortification of security installations across the state. The killing ratio of Kashmiri people and security forces is 10:1. We are being killed without gaining anything.’’ Qureshi, who returned in December last after a 29-year-long exile and is facing charges of burning the plane Ganga, criminal conspiracy, kidnapping and robbery, being an enemy agent, among others. The charges have been framed under Sections 435, 120B, 365 and 392 of the RPC and Section 3 of EOA (Enemy Ordinance Act). He said even teenagers were being lured with money to throw grenades which often kill innocent people. ‘‘Several youth who were arrested for their involvement in grenade-throwing recently met me here and said that they were getting Rs 500 for hurling a grenade,’’ Qureshi said.


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