Hurriyat not to contest J-K polls: Bhat
28 August 2001
The Indian Express
Srinagar: THE Hurriyat Conference today said it would not contest the Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir, dispelling speculation that the conglomerate would change its stand regarding the polls. ‘‘Fighting Assembly elections cannot resolve the Kashmir issue which is hanging fire for the last so many decades,’’ Hurriyat chairman Abdul Gani Bhat told a nine-member Delhi-based team of International Centre for Peace Initiative, led by Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Tushar Gandhi. He said after meeting the team members that he informed them that ‘‘the solution to Kashmir issue lies in admitting ground realities and acceptance of people’s will, wishes and aspirations.’’ ‘‘However, Hurriyat is ready to fight the elections if held under the supervision of UN observers,’’ Bhat said. Speculation was rife here that the team would persuade Hurriyat Conference to change its stand and contest the Assembly polls. Senior Hurriyat Conference leader Mohammad Abbas Ansari, who had a separate meeting with the peace activists, said the Amalgam’s stand was clear that it would not fight any elections other than those held under the supervision of UN observers. He said he told the team that Hurriyat had lost faith in the elections after the 1987 exercise that led to eruption of militancy in the state. Ansari said he told the peace activists that the need of the hour was to srengthen the hands of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Pakistan President Gen Pervez Musharraf to enable them overcome ‘‘certain powers bent upon frustrating every attempt by the two neighbours to resolve Kashmir issue’’. Without naming the ‘‘powers’’, he said Hurriyat wanted peaceful resolution of the issue. On the coming Vajpayee-Musharraf meeting in New York, Bhat said dialogue was the best option to resolve Kashmir issue.