8th September 1997
Hindustan Times Correspondent
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah today appealed to All Parties Hurriyat Conference leaders to rejoin the mainstream and offered to work with them for the welfare of the people of Kashmir.
Announcing amnesty for the Hurriyat leaders while addressing National Conference Workers rally to commemorate the 15th death anniversary of the party founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah at Hazratbal, Dr. Abdullah said that he was willing to "forgive" them. He reiterated that both Pakistan and Hurriyat leadership know that "nothing is going to change in Kashmir", implying that its accession to India was final and irrevocable.
Referring to the Hurriyat leadership, Dr. Abdullah said that they had given a call for general strike today at the behest of Pakistan "The instructions have come through Pakistan embassy", he said some part of Kashmir, including Srinagar observed a general strike following the call of Hurriyat Conference which alleged rise in human rights violations and custodial killings. The call coincided with the death anniversary of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah.
Dr. Abdullah, whose speech drew an enthusiastic response from the National Conference workers, said that Hurriyat leadership realises that nothing would change in Kashmir. But, they (Hurriyat leaders) are scared of retreating their steps. They fear they would be killed". He asked them to join the mainstream. "Let's work together for the welfare of the people of Kashmir", he said amid thunderous applause from his party workers.