September 2003 News

Don't victimise Muslims for J&K events: Shabir Shah

23 September 2003
The Hindu
Luv Puri

Jammu: The Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party chief, Shabir Ahmad Shah, today said Muslims in the rest of the country should not be linked with events in Jammu and Kashmir as they were not even remotely connected to them. Talking to The Hindu , he said, 'Muslims in other States have never supported our cause and they should not be victimised by linking them with the ongoing events in Jammu and Kashmir. Whatever is happening in the State is political and not religious as projected by some vested interests.' Mr. Shah alleged that communal forces were bent upon tarnishing the image of Muslims elsewhere and dubbing them as traitors. 'Muslims are being implicated in false cases and targeted even when they were as patriotic as other non- Muslims.' Mr. Shabir Shah, described the split in the All-Party Hurriyat Conference as a fallout of the 'immature stand' of its leaders and added that he had foreseen it several years ago. Mr. Shah was suspended from the APHC's executive council on August 11, 1996 for defying its directives against meeting the then American envoy to India, Frank Wisner, in Srinagar. He said, 'I feel vindicated the way the Hurriyat has split owing to differences of approach among various constituents. In executive meetings I had expressed this fear and warned them. There was no way for the Hurriyat except to crumble under the weight of its own contradictions.' Laying the blame on the constitution-makers of the Hurriyat, he said, 'The constitution needed several amendments since its inception. Leaders within the APHC refused to take stock of the ground reality and kept on repeating that they represented the whole of Jammu and Kashmir. The truth was that they did not get any support from other parts of the State but refused to accept this.' 'A great contradiction existed in the APHC's original charter. It proclaimed to fight for democratic principles but refused to democratise the executive council, the main decision-making body of the conglomerate. Seven executive members have been appointed as lifetime members, a clause which is in itself anti-democratic in character,' he said.


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