Andrabi attacks those willing to talk to K.C. Pant
18 May 2001
The Asian Age
Srinagar: Syeda Aasiya Andrabi, the firebrand leader of Kashmir’s radical women’s organisation Dukhtaran-e-Millat (Daughters of the Faith), while making a scathing attack on those willing to negotiate peace with the Centre’s pointman, Mr K.C. Pant, asked the militant groups to “throw them out of movement.” “The mujahideen must regulate the ongoing movement themselves and leave no room for politicking by so- called leaders and agnostic politicians,” she said, while addressing a press conference here on Friday. Former chief minister Gulam Muhammad Shah, prominent Hurriyat Conference leader Abdul Gani Lone and Peoples’ Democratic Freedom Party chief Shabir Ahmed Shah were named by the burqa-clad Dukhtaran leader as being among the “turncoats” who were “more than willing to clinch a deal with the Indian government.” Aasiya Andrabi, who is known for her diehard views on Kashmir and related issues, insisted that no organisation or leader, however important, had been empowered by the people of the state to hold negotiations with India except to win freedom. She sounded disgusted particularly over Shabir Shah’s decision to join the bandwagon of people holding dialogues with Mr Pant, “even after 90 per cent of the speakers at the seminar, his party had organised here, to know the views on the subject opposed the idea.” She charged New Delhi of “insincerity” in its latest move. “On one hand, it speaks about peace talks and on the other continues to engineer massacre after massacre of mujahideen and other Muslims.” She asked, “Why is peace necessary for holding negotiations? Why did not India talk to Pakistan to seek a settlement of the Kashmir problem when peace prevailed in the state between 1947 and 1989?” “India was actually surmising before America and other world powers that she wants to resolve Kashmir peacefully but Pakistan is not ready for it,” she alleged. Replying questions, Aasiya Andrabi, however, said that the Dukhtaran were not averse to seeking resolution of the problem through dialogue. “If, at all, the problem needs to be resolved amicably through negotiations then India must first accept the logic of Kashmir being a disputed territory and also concede the right to plebiscite of its people, she added. But the Palestine experience, she said, had proved beyond any doubt that the issues facing the Muslims could not be resolved through so-called peace talks. Qualifying her statement she said, “The enemies of Islam will never allow Muslims to live in peace. It is happening in Palestine even after the Israelis signed the agreements and, I’m sure, this theatre of deceit and betrayal will only be reenacted in Kashmir,” she asserted. Aasiya Andrabi wondered how political leaders like Mr Shah and Mr Lone who lived under the security cover provided by the government claim to be representatives of the Kashmiri people “who were facing the brunt of violence at the hands of these very forces.” She strongly felt that New Delhi did not invite outfits like the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, Jaish-e-Muhammad, Al-Badr and Hizb-ul-Mujahideen to talks for two reasons; first these would not have accepted anything short of freedom and, secondly, could not be a party to its agenda of restoring peace in Kashmir. She was quite unhappy over what she called mujahideen groups leaving secular and nationalist turncoats who were bent upon to transform the jihadi movement into the customary political strife unbridled. The Dukhtaran-e-Millat chief also criticised the role of the Hurriyat Conference, accusing the amalgam of having failed to deliver. “It is playing a negative role by indulging in the customary politics,” she charged. When asked that Pakistan, the country she trusted the most and wanted Kashmir to become a part of, was not only openly endorsing the conglomerate’s moves but also helped it in gaining outside appreciation including observer status at the OIC, she said that her group would not hesitate in raising a banner of revolt against Islamabad if it failed to appreciate the Kashmiri sentiment. “Pakistan has been pleading the Kashmiri’s cause over the years and could well represent them in any future dispensation but if she deviates from the chosen path then we would see that as blunder on part of Islamabad and would definitely resist,” she said. She added that a mistake committed by Islamabad would be attributed to those at the helm of affairs and not necessarily to the nation.