Hizb committed to ceasefire with forces
6 August 2000
The Daily Excelsior
Srinagar: Hizbul Mujahideen today claimed that it was committed to ceasefire with the security forces and in order to make the peace initiative ''more effective and meaningful'' it had begun a thorough interaction with the people and operational commanders in field. In a statement here this evening, the Hizb spokesman reiterated that the organisation had declared ceasefire and launched the peace initiative with full seriousness and sincerety and that its leadership was fully conscious of its responsibilities. It was this obligation which had necessitated its throrough interaction with the field commanders and the common people. The spokesman said that Hizb had made an appeal to other militant outfits to follow suit so that India was left with no excuse of escaping from the process of peace for resolution of the Kashmir crisis. The spokesman explained that some ''divisional commanders'' of the organisation were out in field and their failure to reach the capital city by Saturday afternoon resulted in postponement of the meeting between Hizbul Mujahideen and the Government. The meeting was scheduled to deliberate on the modalities of the ceasefire already in force between the outfit and the security forces. The spokesman declared that the meeting would take place ''within this week''. Significantly, there is no reference to the Pakistan-based ''supreme commander'' Syed Salah-ud-din or his Aug 8th deadline of ceasefire. As already reported, Salah-ud-din, on Wednesday last, had threatened to withdraw the ceasefire in case India did not come forward with an assurance that Pakistan too would be involved in tripartite negotiations on Kashmir. The Hizb spokesman commander Masood, however, expressed his dismay that inspite of the ceasefire, security forces in several localities were continuing their operations against his outfit''s militants and excesses were being perpetrated on innocent people. According to the Hizb spokesman, forces have recently killed Shabir Ahmed alias Janbaz, in Gool Arnas area of Udhampur district; troops of RR 9th Bn have let loose a reign of terror in Marhama, Kulgam; and troops of Ahgam Arihal camp have roughed up a number of men at Moolu Chitram, Turkawangam, Sheikhpora, Dangarpora and Tranz area of Shopian. (Meanwhile, troops of RR 33 Bn conducted a cordon-and-search operation of Chewa in Safapora area while as troops of Sub Area conducted a similar operation at Athwajan locality, close to Corps headquarters here. Official sources said that at both the places, troops had information of the presence of Lashkar-e-Toiba militants). The Hizb spokesman alleged that SOG personnel had caused harassment to the relatives of militants in Chhattabal who were being asked to ensure the surrender of the underground militants. At Kangan, Gutlibagh and Nunnar, a brigadier was allegedly pressuring the families of the Hizb militants for surrender. The spokesman said that the Hizb commanders had fanned out in field to assess the veracity of such allegations. Meanwhile, in wake of the new developments and Hizbul Mujahideen''s asking for ''some more time'' , Special Secretary in the Union Home Ministry Mr Mukund Bihari Kaushal is understood to have postponed his Kashmir visit by a day or two.