April 2000 News

US was forewarned of attack on Sikhs, says JKLF leader

1 April 2000
Dawn Karachi
Nasir Malick

London: A Kashmiri freedom group had forewarned the United States that Indian intelligence agencies might cause a ''catastrophic human tragedy'' somewhere in occupied Kashmir to malign the Kashmiri freedom fighters and to implicate Pakistan during the visit of President Clinton to the South Asian region, it has emerged. The warning was given to the United States by a five-member delegation of pro-independence Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF). Which had met the officials of the US State Department in Washington a week before the visit of President Clinton but the concern was not conveyed to the White House authorities in time. JKLF General Secretary for UK and Europe, Mr Azmat Khan, on Saturday told Dawn that normally he would have not discussed in public about the details of their delegation''s meeting with the US State Department officials.But it has become necessary to settle the record straight as to who was responsible for the massacre of 37 Kashmiris amid claims and counter-claims in Indian and the Pakistani press. Mr Azmat said that the delegation forewarned the State Department officials of the possibility of such an act during President Clinton''s stay in India but US State Department officials failed to convey the Kashmiri concerns to the relevant authorities in the White House. ''The US State Department officials were plainly told about the possibility of such an event by the visiting JKLF delegation a week before President Clinton''s departure,'' he said. ''We are naturally worried as to why the American State Department apparently did not act in time to address our concerns expressed during the face-to-face meeting with our delegation on Friday, 10th March in Washington DC.'' Mr Azmat supported the calls for an independent international inquiry into the massacre of Sikh families in Chattisinghpura. But said his organization is convinced that Indian armed forces would do everything to provide cover to the perpetrators of this crime as has been done in the case of killer of Jaleel Andrabi. He said it would not be unreasonable to think that someone somewhere wanted President Clinton to soften his attitude towards India and change his views on the human rights situation in Jammu and Kashmir. He also regretted that President Clinton missed an historic opportunity to bring about peace and harmony to war torn Kashmir. Mr Azmat also released a written statement claiming that there was abundant evidence to prove that Indian armed forces, their paramilitary agencies and auxiliary counter-insurgency force made up of former Kashmiri ''militants'' belonging to various outfits have carried out certain acts of terrorism to implicate the genuine Kashmiri Mujahideen groups. This includes the kidnapping of foreign tourists, to convince the world that the Kashmiri freedom movement is nothing but a terrorist and a fundamentalist movement. ''But the truth is that all Sikhs and Pundits deep down know that Kashmiri Muslims have never meant any harm to them and are equally hurt by this horrific crime,'' he said. He said though certain Mujahideen groups have inadvertently played into the hands of these forces of evil and helped reinforce Indian government''s message that the freedom fighters in Kashmir were fighting a ''religious war'' rather than leading a national liberation movement. We reject the notion that anyone remotely sympathetic to the movement could contemplate on such a crime against humanity.

 

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