Act to fuel tension in Jammu: Lone
12 August 2001
The Indian Express
New Delhi: Hurriyat Conference leader Abdul Ghani Lone has said that the extension of the Disturbed Areas Act to Jammu would eventually lead to communalisation of the situation. He claimed that the new village defence committees would be raised from one community and it would create fissures within society. The Hurriyat leader also alleged that Farooq Abdullah was trying to evade his responsibility of containing violence in J-K. Talking about peace negotiations, Lone said the Centre had not approached him or any other political leader with a renewed offer. Speaking to The Indian Express, he said that India and Pakistan seemed to be heading towards a war over Kashmir after the Agra Summit, pointing out that the two countries had toughened their stance and this would eventually lead to more violence and suppression in the state. We had thought that the summit would usher in peace and it turned out to be just the opposite, he said. While violence had increased in the state, he added, the Centre had decided to send in troops and give more powers to troops to crush it. Its sad and we cannot wish for peace and resolution of the problem, Lone lamented. It looks most unlikely amidst this atmosphere of hostilies all around. Asked why the Hurriyat Conference was silent on the recent developments in Muzzarraffabad (capital of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir) where the military regime usurped the electoral verdict and installed its favourites, including an army general Lone said: They (Pakistan) treat Kashmiris as shabbily as they do it here. However, he said that the Hurriyat leaders had kept silent on the PoK developments as the main victims, like former prime minister Sardar Qayoom Khan, had themselves succumbed to military diktats. Later, he might have contradicted us, he said. Meanwhile, another leader, Bhim Singh, has demanded sacking of Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah for his failure to contain insurgency and installation of an all-party government in the militancy-affected state. Talking to mediapersons, Singh said both the BJP and the NC stood to gain politically from the deteriorating situation in the state and this was the reason why the two parties had agreed to extend the Disturbed Areas Act to Jammu.