April 2002 News

Malik call widens APHC rift

15 April 2002
The Statesman
H Bula Devi

New Delhi: Further cracks have appeared within the All Party Hurriyat Conference following JKLF leader Mr Yasin Malik mooting an independent election commission to prove the Hurriyat’s representative character. Some of the senior leaders were opposed to the idea as they felt that it was a “non-starter”, but none dared to oppose it openly. A senior leader said: “It does not really matter now whether there was a difference of opinion or not as all seven executive members signed the proposal. We cannot escape the responsibility of having endorsed the idea.” Their opposition, however, was reflected when Mr Malik was arrested under Pota. Neither the APHC chairman issued a public statement against the arrest, nor was there any condemnation of the government’s move by any of the Hurriyat executive leaders. Rather, the Centre was peeved as it felt that Mr Malik’s arrest at present under Pota would give him the image of a hero, officials said. Apparently, the JKLF leader carried the idea of an independent poll panel on his way back from the USA and an impression was given that it had the endorsement of the US government. Diplomats say when the US administration learnt about the “imaginative endorsement”, it was quite taken aback. It is believed that US and European officials have been pressurising the Hurriyat to participate in the elections.


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