Grenade attack fails to deter Hurriyat
23 April 2001
Srinagar: Kashmir militants on Monday attacked the All Party Hurriyat Conference headquarters with hand grenades while the crucial General Council meeting of the 23-party alliance was in progress to chalk out its response to the Centre's offer of talks. According to eye witnesses, the grenade was hurled by two teen-agers who came on a scooter. The grenade exploded in the lawns of the headquarters, wounding four activists of the Conference, police said. The wounded Hurriyat activists - Shakeel Ahmad Khan, Shabir Ahmad Zarger, Feroz Ahmed and Fida Hussain - were hurried to hospital, where the condition of one of them was reported to be critical. Two lesser known militant outfits, the Al-Qasas and the Mujahideen-E-Haq, have claimed responsibility for the attack. The explosion caused panic and the meeting was disrupted for some time. However, it was resumed when the police reached the spot. Reacting to the militant attack, Hurriyat chairman Abdul Gani Bhat said that the Conference would not be deterred by such attacks, nor would the designs of vested interests be allowed to succeed. Emerging from the five-hour-long, close-door meeting, Prof Bhat said, "We will not be bogged down by such acts. The designs of some vested interests will not be allowed to succeed." Meanwhile, the Hurriyat again failed to formulate a response to the Centers talks offer. According to sources, most General Council members opposed to hold any dialogue with the Centre in the present form. However, the suspense over the Hurriyat Conference's response to the Centre's unconditional talks offer is likely to end on Thursday when the Executive Council of the alliance meets and makes known its stand. Before the commencement of the General Council meeting, Prof Bhat told reporters that it was convened to seek the opinion of all parties before taking a final decision on the Centre's offer. To a question, Mr Bhat and former chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq said that the decision taken at the Working Committee of the alliance on Saturday would be presented before the General Council for ratification. The two leaders said that a final decision on the Centre's offer, keeping in view the opinion and advice of the General Council, would be taken at the Hurriyat Executive, the highest decision-making body of the alliance. Representatives of two constituents of the alliance, Bazm-e-Tawheed Ahlihadees and Jamiat-e-Ahlihadees, did not participate in the Monday's General Council meeting, Hurriyat sources said.