Former Militant Commanders Launch Political Organisation

10 April 2008

Srinagar: Three former militant commanders on Thursday launched a political outfit to fight what they called “Indian occupation of Kashmir.” Bilal Siddiqi, Saleem Zargar and Shabir Zargar, who spent more than a decade in jails, said their organisation titled Tehreek-e-Muzahamat Jammu and Kashmir (Resistance Movement) would fight for Kashmiris right to self-determination. “Ideologically we are closer to senior leader (Syed Ali Shah) Geelani as he pursues the goal of right of self-determination. But on other issues we have differences with him,” Siddiqi, who is ranked among the pioneers of the armed struggle, told reporters at a news conference here. Saleem Zargar was nominated as the convenor of the group. Siddiqi said the party’s main agenda would be to bring forward “sincere pro-freedom leadership” which according to him is lying low due to the confusion among the “so-called pro-freedom leadership.” “All of us here are the pioneers of this sacred movement and nobody will be allowed to hijack the cause particularly those who have hegemonistic approach in their respective parties,” Siddiqi said. Rejecting the roadmaps and CBMs, he said, “These slogans will not weaken the ongoing freedom struggle.” He accused a section of “so-called pro-freedom leaders” of compromising with India. “But despite all odds the torch of resistance is still alive,” he added. Siddiqi said a large number of released militant commanders were joining the party fold soon. He said his party’s advisory council will meet soon and would announce the party structure in due course of time. Commenting on the unity efforts by senior leader Shabir Shah, Siddiqi said, “Since this is fight of principles and if we find our principles meeting with them we will support those moves.” Replying to a question about the forth coming assembly elections, Siddiqi said, “We are not for elections and since these elections are not a substitute to a referendum to ascertain the future of Kashmir we are not interested in the futile exercise.”