No Kashmiri Ready To Become Ikhwan For India: NC Lawmaker

23 May 2015
Kashmir Dispatch

Srinagar: Stating that no Kashmiri is ready to take gun for India in its fight against militancy, former Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly speaker and National Conference Lawmaker Muhammad Akbar Lone Monday said the revival of sponsoring counter-insurgents would hurt whatever credibility is left for India among people of Valley. 'Earlier, India also committed mistake in the form of sponsoring state terrorism by backing Ikhwan and if it repeats the same, then whatever credibility India is left in Kashmir would die down and it would result in bloodshed, loot, arson. The hate for India would increase to a very large extent among people of Kashmir,' Lone, who is also former Education Minister of State, told Srinagar based news agency GNS during a telephonic conversation on Saturday. Saying he would take 'proactive steps' to meet any threat to the country, Defence Minister of India Manohar Parrikar Thursday had said 'you have to neutralise terrorist through terrorist only'. Expressing concern over the statement, most of the mainstream and pro-freedom parties condemned his remarks as Kashmir witnessed worst kind of excesses at the hands of Ikhwan-ul-Muslimeen counter-insurgent group during mid nineties and early 2000s. Ikhwan, which was largely based in north Kashmir's Bandipora district, resorted to loot, arson, killings, rapes, extortion in the name of fighting militancy. The notorious group was headed by Kuka Parray - a folk singer turned gunman - killed by militants during an audacious attack in 2003 at Hajin Township of Bandipora district. 'If India revives culture of sponsoring gunmen, then people of Kashmir irrespective of parties and organizations would come on streets,' Lone, who represents Sonawari constituency of north Kashmir in Assembly, said. Sonawari was considered as hub of Ikhwan activities. He said: 'Gun versus gun and blood for blood would prove costly for India.' Claiming that no one including erstwhile Ikhwan gunmen are ready to re-join fight against militancy in Kashmir, Lone confidently said: 'I can say you with authority that those boys who worked for India in the name of Ikhwan are disappointed now because they know Indian leaders played with them; instigated them for fighting from time to time and they got nothing from all this. And, if they are asked to take to gun again, I am saying you with authority that none of them would join government in its fight. They are not ready because after extreme hardships they managed to adjust themselves in the society again. I am sure they won't take to gun.' 'Why India wants us to drag into this? Let them fight themselves. They have army, paramilitary forcesbut it would be better if they initiate dialogue. Why they want to involve our children into this?' he said. Lone, whose party NC was in power during the peak years of Ikhwan activities, termed latter's activities as 'state terrorism' and said his party's government during 1996-2002 was 'helpless' before Indian government and counter-insurgents. 'Those days there was direct intervention of Indian agencies including Intelligence Bureau. The intervention of state was less. If somewhere any one committed excesses, the State government voiced its concern. I myself fought a long battle against Ikhwan. I lost to Kuka Parray because of this intervention. We were helpless before Ikhwan and Central Government,' he said. Urging Indian government to initiate dialogue instead of fighting militancy in Kashmir, the NC leader said: 'Ikhwan's experiment proved costly not only for India but also for the boys associated with it. This would be revival of state terrorism. I call it state terrorism. Kashmir people will think 'are we so downtrodden that they are creating a force within to kill us'?' adding: 'Talk to Hurriyat and other dissenters instead of bullet for bullet. India is mistaken if it thinks that it would able to revive state terrorism because no one is ready to take gun against militants, their own people.' He urged Defence establishment to 'change its mindset' and asked them to 'win over the hearts of Kashmiris'. 'If India wants to keep Kashmir with herself then it should increase connections with peoples' representatives and all other groups. It should also hold a round table conference to find a solution,' he suggested. Cautioning Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Syed and his party, Lone said if Ikhwan is revived in Kashmir, it would prove costly for the government in the same way it proved costly for the National Conference in 2002 elections. 'We bore its brunt in 2002 and same would happen with Mufti sahab if it is revived.' Lone said the people of Kashmir are 'tired of bloodshed' and they should be allowed to live in peace. 'Now please let them live in peace and they should be honoured,' he said. He said India considers people of Kashmir as 'aliens'. 'People were promised rehabilitation by Prime Minister of India after 2014 flood. Where is that? Even relief was not provided. Kashmiris are considered aliens,' he added.