September 2002 News

They killed our father, now they’re after us: Sajjad Lone

1 September 2002
The Indian Express
Muzamil Jaleel

Srinagar: People’s Conference chief Sajjad Lone has said that he and his brother, Bilal Lone, are living under a severe threat to their lives and sought adequate security. ''Otherwise, the government will be responsible for facilitating our assassination as happened when our father (Hurriyat leader Abdul Gani Lone) was martyred.'' He was speaking to The Indian Express in an exclusive interview. ‘‘History is being repeated and the same environment which was created for my father’s assassination is being created for me and my brother,’’ he said. ‘‘Every actor is performing the same vicious role and lack of security and a conducive environment is already there.’’ He recalled that similar allegations had been levelled against his father. ‘‘And when after his death we took over, even as toddlers in politics, we had to face the same allegations. I am pained to note the notorious levels to which the standards of Kashmiri politics have fallen where popular support has become a liability,’’ he complained. ‘‘Is it a crime to have popular support?’’ Sajjad said the Government knew about the intensity of the threat against them but was being insensitive. ‘‘They knew the level of threat against my father’s life and did nothing till he was assassinated. In fact, we had asked for more security. That is why I believe that two sets of people were involved in his assassination — those who killed him and those who facilitated his murder. And I believe that the Farooq Abdullah government facilitated his assassination by not providing enough security.’’ Sajjad reiterated the official stance of his party that they won’t join the elections but observed that the massive participation of the people in poll process in PC strongholds of Handwara and Kupwara was unnerving. ‘‘I think there are lots of lessons to be learnt from it,’’ he said. ‘‘It certainly shows the public mood and our leadership needs to think about it with logic.’’ Asked what would be his party’s course of action since the Hurriyat leadership believes that the PC has betrayed it by fielding its leaders as independent candidates, Sajjad said the party was not contesting the polls but also won’t condemn those PC leaders who have joined the fray after resigning from the party. ‘‘We are responsible only for those who are with us.’’


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