JKLF, Hurriyat leaders condemn terrorist attacks
13 December 2001
The Asian Age
Srinagar: Kashmir’s mainstream and moderate secessionist leaders have condemned Thursday’s terrorist attack on the Parliament House. “Believe me, I’m perturbed at the development,” JKLF chairman Muhammad Yaseen Malik said. Mr Malik had on Wednesday said the chances of a peaceful and amicable solution to the Kashmir issue have only brightened after the September 11 terror attacks in the US. He had hoped that the world community, particularly the United States, would play a key role in brokering peace in South Asia. “We still do not know who has done it but it is indeed a terrorist act and we condemn it,” Mr Malik said. He has sought a probe into the incident by an impartial agency and demanded that the guilty be prosecuted and brought to justice. “Why has it happened?” the chairman of the Hurriyat Conference, Prof. Abdul Ghani Butt, said. His main apprehension was that “whenever an effort is initiated to consolidate any peace process to resolve disputes, mischief happens.” “Why does it happen?” he asked. Prof. Butt also called for a fair, impartial inquiry into the incidents in New Delhi at what he called a “credible level.” When asked to outline his choice, the Hurriyat leader said, “Credible means at international level, which might include prominent people from Europe and the United States.” At a press conference along with Mr Malik here on Wednesday, Prof. Butt had said he expected a major breakthrough on the Kashmir issue within 12 hours. Though he did not elaborate, many in the Valley on Thursday wondered if he meant what happened at the Parliament House. “I meant something else, which happened exactly after 12 hours (at 11 pm (IST) on Wednesday night) somewhere else,” Prof. Butt said on Thursday, but again refused to elaborate. However, his adversaries suspect the Hurriyat Conference chairman knew about the terrorists’ plan to strike at Parliament House. “Many people will certainly try to drag him into a controversy,” a renowned Kashmiri journalist, Tahir Mohiuddin, said. “People will say he knew about it...,” he said. “If I am a qalandar (Muslim fakir), Mr L.K. Advani is also one par excellence... he had recently said the terrorists might even target Parliament,” Prof. Butt said. Meanwhile, people in Kashmir have expressed their concern over Thursday’s attack. “May Allah bless us. This seems to be an act done by someone else, not a Kashmiri...” said Nazir Ahmed Shah, a Srinagar trader. The editor of Chataan, a weekly, Mr Tahir, predicted a setback to any peace process on Kashmir. He and other Kashmir watchers are sure that the peace process involving the Hurriyat Conference and the Centre has been delayed. “We are back to square one,” Mr Tahir said. “The hope that Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and President Pervez Musharraf’s meeting during the forthcoming Saarc summit will act as an ice breaker has been crushed after this attack,” Mr Tahir said. He, however, said the tide could turn differently “if Gen. Musharraf takes some strong action against any group that might own responsibility for targeting Parliament.” Mr Tahir and other Kashmir watchers are sure that the so-called political process involving the Hurriyat Conference and the Centre has been delayed. “We are back to square one,” Mr Tahir said. The Jamait-ul-Mujahideen, one of the radical pro-Pakistan militant outfits, said the attack on Parliament House “is nothing but a plot hatched by the RAW.” Jamait-ul-Mijahideen spokesperson Jameel Ahmed said over phone from Pakistan that “No Kashmiri or Pakistani group fighting jihad (in Kashmir) is involved in the attack.” The Jamait spokesperson alleged that this could be the work of “Indian intelligence agencies like RAW who want to portray paint our just struggle for freedom and Islamic salvation as terrorism and make the Americans believe that terrorism is on in Kashmir.” Another prominent Kashmiri secessionist leader, Moulvi Abbas Ansari, wondered how gunmen could reach a place that is supposed to be heavily guarded at all times. “I don’t understand how they could cross the security ring around Parliament,” he said. “Whenever there are positive developments in Kashmir, such incidents occur,” he said.