Hizb say foreign militants should keep off
20 November 2001
The Times of India
TIMES NEWS NETWORK
SRINAGAR: In a significant declaration, the Hizbul Mujahideen said foreign militants should keep off the state of Jammu and Kashmir, even as they indicated their readiness for a dialogue. Vice-chief commander of the Hizbul, Sayedani, told reporters here on Tuesday that his organisation was thinking of entering the political arena. A decision on this would be taken soon, he added. Saying the Taliban had no links with the insurgency in the state, Sayedani added that militant groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Harkat-ul- Mujahideen should work under local groups. ''They have no role in the policy-making of militants here,'' he said. He said the theory that the Taliban would take to Kashmir after the fall of Kabul was a conspiracy floated by those who wanted to detract from the Kashmir movement, which was an indigenous one, he added. Sayedani said the Hizbul was a moderate group which had even offered to talk on Kashmir, provided the government was serious. Refuting any differences in the Hizbul cadre over the recent replacement of chief commander Masjid Dar, Sayedani said Saifullah Islam replaced him after proper consultation with all commanders. Admitting the close proximity of his outfit with the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, Sayedani said he considered it to be his organisation''s political wing - but again he threatened that if the leaders ''do not adopt acceptable policy we will distance ourselves from them''. Last week, the 23-member Hurriyat had echoed the sentiment, when its chairman Abdul Gani Bhat said his alliance took decisions on its own. ''We are masters of our own fate,'' he had said while calling for a comprehensive ceasefire by all groups as part of its ''three-point formula'' to resolve the Kashmir issue. The formula envisages trilateral talks and setting a time-frame for a solution. But Bhat had said if the ceasefire was not universal it would meet the same fate as the one announced by the Hizbul in July 2000 and the government in November. But he had reiterated that any talks on Kashmir should involve both India and Pakistan.