Kashmir separatist in poll fray is being targeted for boldness

9 May 2009

Srinagar: Sajjad Ghani Lone, who is contesting the ongoing parliamentary elections from the north Kashmir constituency of Baramulla, Saturday said he is being targeted for boldness. Leaders of various groups were engaged in a smear campaign against him after being rattled by his bold and fearless advocacy of Kashmiri aspirations before Indian and Pakistani politicians and diplomats and the world media, said Sajjad Lone, the chairman of the pro-independence, People's Conference. 'I have represented the sentiments and aspirations of Kashmiris with a true heart at every possible forum without fearing the consequences, and this realistic approach has frustrated several leaders who are now out to tarnish my image,' Sajjad said in an interview. Explaining his motives in contesting the on-going polls, Sajjad said, 'The sanctity of sacrifices can best be felt by one who has himself made sacrifices during the ongoing movement. I, too, like you am one of those who had to face sacrifices during the current struggle.' Sajjad's father and one of the founders of Hurriyat Conference, Abdul Ghani Lone fell to the bullets of an assassin in Srinagar in 2005. 'I, too, would have been enjoying the fruits of power today, and living a life of luxury on remunerations by remaining content with shooting off freedom slogans and statements from my home. But my conscience did not permit me to do so,' he said. 'I don't, under any circumstances, believe in such selfish and hypocritical politics,' he said. 'I have not come to deceive my oppressed people by claiming to represent them with blindfolds over my eyes or shooting off arrows into the dark.' 'Instead, in my brief political career, I have never depended on the politics of yes-men and agents,' he said. 'Except for my oppressed nation, I have never tried to win the goodwill of anyone. I am firm in the belief that Kashmir is our issue, and it is us who have offered sacrifices for its honourable and dignified solution,' he said. 'Therefore it is our right to demand it solution in keeping with out point of view on a priority basis,' he said. 'I have always wanted the restoration of the individuality and identity of our nation which have been adversely affected by machinations of some of our own and some strangers,' he said. 'The distinction of Kashmiri leadership so far has been to work as political agents for the sake of power and petty personal interests. If any leader tried to rise above this style and truly represent Kashmiris, he had to fall prey to the conspiracies of agents,' he said. 'This is the reason that the Kashmir issue is still dangling over our heads like a sharp-edges sword, and the nation is helplessly being grinded between the two wheels of the mill,' he said. 'This is why I have decided to devote every moment of my life, every resource and every means and influence to representing my nation correctly and giving a proper direction to the movement,' he said. 'This is why I have decided to cross the boundaries of Kashmir and go into the Indian parliament so as to be able to bring about a change in the traditional style of leadership,' he said. 'Rattled by my realistic approach, leaders of some groups have begun a concerted campaign against me,' he said. 'But I am certain that as long as I have the cooperation and the trust of my people, no one can stop my goals from being fulfilled. I have to give the people the right leadership and be a representative of realism,' he said.