April 2003 News

Hizb, Hurriyat Reject PM Offer Of Talks

18 April 2003
The Asian Age

Srinagar: Frontline Kashmiri militant organisation, Hizbul Mujahideen, has rejected Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's offer of talks, saying nothing short of independence will be acceptable to the people of the state. In a statement issued soon after the Prime Minister spoke at a rally here, the Hizb said that complete shutdown observed in the Valley on Mr Vajpayee's arrival in Srinagar should serve as an eye- opener to him as well as entire world community. 'His public rally was actually a drama enacted with a definite purpose. Otherwise, Mr Vajpayee knows the people of Kashmir will not accept but azadi,' the statement signed by the Hizb's Pakistan-based chief Syed Salahuddin and his operational commander in Kashmir Gazi Naseeruddin said. It added, 'Vajpayeeji could not declare Kashmir as an integral part of India even standing behind a bulletproof screen and in presence of eight and half lakh soldiers.' Calling the success of the strike call as a referendum, the Hizb alleged that the people who turned up at the rally were actually policemen and paramilitary forces in civvies. 'Mufti Sayeed may have made a fool of himself by enacting such a drama but he cannot hide the truth from the world community,' the statement says. In a separate statement, the Hurriyat expressed satisfaction over the success of the strike call. 'This must have put the word across that the people of Kashmir are with the Hurriyat and that any concessions, economic or otherwise are not acceptable to them. If weighed with the parameters of democracy this unprecedented strike can well be described as a plebiscite,' it said.


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