May 2002 News

Polls not the answer to Kashmir problem: APHC

10 May 2002
The Hindu

SRINAGAR: The All-Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) chairman, Abdul Gani Bhat, today said the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly had no role in resolving the Kashmir issue. Even New Delhi had summarily rejected the autonomy resolution passed by the Farooq Abdullah Government. Prof. Bhat said, ''when Farooq Abdullah chooses to pass a resolution for the restoration of autonomy, the Government of India chooses to dismiss it summarily. What happened when the late Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah resented Indian hegemony? He ceased to be the Prime Minister, he was arrested (in 1953) and jailed for so many years. ''What is the importance and validity of the Assembly? Why contest elections? Polls are no answer to the problem,'' he said, speaking at a book release function here. ''That is why I told some of our friends that we cannot fight our battle in this Assembly,'' he said. ''Two or three persons are ready to contest the elections. Some want us to go to the Assembly and get freedom. It is betrayal. Don''t misuse the freedom in the name of participation in elections,'' He said some of his ''friends'' wanted to join the electoral process, but ''participation in the elections is not fair to the blood and honour we have given for the last 13 years.'' Prof. Bhat reiterated that if anyone wanted to take part in the elections he should not do so in the name of the freedom movement and declare that he was an Indian. He said the Indian leadership had resorted to shortcuts and the holding of elections was a part of this process. Elections were no answer to the sufferings of people. ''Why does blood flow, why do violations take place? It is because the basic right has been wrested from us.'' The APHC chairman rejected the proposal of freezing of the Kashmir issue for 20 years and autonomy to the State. ''Autonomy is a form of constitutional slavery and freezing of the Kashmir issue is an Indian agenda.''.


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