April 2002 News

Hizbul threatens to target National Conference over POTA

9 April 2002
The Hindustan Times

Srinagar: Pakistan-based Hizbul Mujahideen has threatened to strike the ruling National Conference for its support to Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) in a rare joint session of Parliament last month. The National Conference''s five MPs are part of the BJP-led government at the Centre. POTA gives police sweeping powers to arrest, interrogate and detain suspects for up to 90 days without trial and to intercept suspects'' communication. ''Hizbul Mujahideen is contemplating some effective and decisive actions against the ruling National Conference for its alacrity in enacting POTA,'' the group''s spokesman Junaid ul- Islam said. ''For the people who know the art of becoming human bombs and killing themselves inside the camps of their enemies, this law is useless,'' Islam wrote in the Urdu-language weekly Chattan. ''Instead, it will add to our dedication and commitment.'' Islam did not specify what action the terrorist group planned to take. ''Up to date we have been restraining harsh measures against the National Conference, but now we have decided to take action,'' he wrote. ''While many non-Muslim and non-BJP leaders have expressed reservations over the draconian law, Farooq Abdullah and his son were jubilant when the law was passed,'' Islam wrote. Farooq Abdullah''s son Omar Abdullah is state Minister for External Affairs. POTA has been the target of a number of protests in Jammu and Kashmir, where more than 100 Muslims have been booked under the anti-terror law, including top Hurriyat leader Yasin Malik. The first non-Muslims charged in Jammu and Kashmir under the Act were four Sikh terrorists arrested last week.


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