February 2001 News

Grenade tied to Hurriyat Chief's car, Butt escapes bid

22 February 2001
The Asian Age
Yusuf Jameel

Jammu: The Hurriyat Conference chairman, Prof. Abdul Gani Butt, and about 10 others travelling with him in a Tata Sumo, had a providential escape when a man in the crowd that had gathered to greet the secessionist politician at Tarzoo in northwestern Kashmir, detected a grenade tied with the vehicle before it could explode on Thursday. “It was sheer luck that somebody in the crowd noticed that a live grenade has been tied with our vehicle,” said Prof. Butt on reaching Srinagar. Recalling the sequence of events, he said after addressing an impulsive rally at Tarzoo, 48 km from Srinagar, he and his colleagues were about to drive towards Srinagar when the bomb was detected tied beneath the traction of the vehicle. “The people who had gathered around it to see us off started shouting: ‘Get down, get down quickly,” we obeyed them and when we alighted from the vehicle, we were upset to see that somebody wanted to kill us,” he said. It was the personal security officer of the Hurriyat Conference chairman who quickly removed the grenade which was about to explode at its pin had already been pulled to midpoint, the PSO, Ashique Hussain, then handed it over to policemen deployed in the vicinity. Asked who could be behind the act, Prof. Gani said that it was for the authorities to it find out. “Allah has saved us from the shar (evil) of our enemy,” he asserted. There was no immediate word from the administration on the incident but official sources said that the Sopore police was investigating. Earlier during the day, the Hurriyat Conference chairman during in an interview with The Asian Age urged the centre to take what he called bolder steps towards achieving lasting peace in Jammu and Kashmir. Ceasefire merely could not do what was needed to be done, he said adding that the ceasefire and dialogue should go hand in hand. Commenting on extension of Centre’s unilateral ceasefire, he said: “Extension or no extension, let the word go across that unless the basic issue of Kashmir is addressed no peace can return. Can it happen in vacuum. We don’t have to go high to skies, we need to come down to earth. Except the stark ground realities, set a collective effort afoot and find a durable solution to Kashmir problem.” This is logic. Who strikes at will and who doesn’t is not as important as is the question why. The why is what we need address. It seems Mr Vajpayee wants that dialogue should start. But then ceasefire and dialogue must go hand in hand if we have to achieve a bright future for the people of the region.” When asked if he was in favour of trifurcating the state, he said: “Where does it lead us to? To the settlement of the problem or to the division of Jammu and Kashmir into three different states. If the latter be the case, I’m afraid it may create more problems that solve any.” Commenting on internal conflict in the Hurriyat Conference, he said: “I don’t generally speaking draw lines between what you say moderates and hardliners. I’ve seen and known hardliner turning into softliner and vice versa. What matters, therefore, is if one can proceed with realism, one does not always face problems but then if not beset with problems, the very charm of life is lost. I don’t, let me tell you, feel handicapped.”


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