Rumblings in Hurriyat again: Lone won’t go
1 January 2001
The Hindustan Times
New Delhi: IN FRESH rumblings in the Hurriyat Conference a day ahead of its crucial executive council meeting, its senior leader Abdul Ghani Lone, considered a moderate, on Monday said he would not be a member of the Hurriyat team that will visit Pakistan on January 15. Lone also mounted a scathing attack on the hardliners in the separatist conglomerate for launching a 'campaign' against him. 'I will not visit Pakistan as a member of the Hurriyat delegation that proposes to hold negotiations with the militant leadership in Islamabad,' Lone, who heads Jammu and Kashmir Peoples' Conference, told the working committee meeting of the party. He said his step was a voluntarily one and had not been taken under any compulsion or pressure. Referring to the offer of talks to the Hurriyat by the Centre, Lone said there had been no talks between the two as yet 'nor does the Centre appear serious about talks.' He said certain elements had launched a campaign that 'we have sold out,' an apparent reference to the supporters of the pro-Pakistan constituents of the Hurriyat who had raised slogans 'sauda bazi nahi chalegi' (no sell out will be allowed) outside its headquarters on December 17. Terming these elements as 'contractors of religion,' Lone said they, whether in Jammu and Kashmir or across the line of control, 'are bent upon burying the political approach of the Peoples Conference on the pretext of threat to Islam.' Lone said peace 'will be a bigger jehad' (holy war) at this crucial moment.