Hizbul ready for meaningful talks
16 March 2002
The Asian Age
Srinagar: The Pakistan-backed Hizbul Mujahideen on Saturday voiced its readiness for meaningful talks to resolve the Kashmir issue, but the dominant Kashmiri militant outfit made it clear that it would not participate in the coming Jammu and Kashmir Assembly elections. “Hizbul Mujahideen believes in democracy and is prepared, like before, for meaningful talks to resolve the Kashmir issue,” the outfit’s spokesman Juniad-ul-Islam said in a written statement released through a local news agency here. “The meaningful dialogue should be trilateral involving India, Pakistan and the Kashmiri people,” he said. However, the spokesman ruled out participation of the outfit in the coming Assembly elections, saying no militant or commander of the outfit will participate in the poll held under the Indian Constitution. He strongly denied reports appearing in the media that former chief commander of the outfit Abdul Majid Dar and former spokesman of the outfit Asad Yazdani would take part in the coming Assembly elections. “No militant associated with Hizbul Mujahideen will ever participate in the elections under the Indian Constitution,” he reiterated. Meanwhile, IANS reports that Jammu and Kashmir is probing 40 cases of custodial killings that have been reported in the state in the past five years. State home minister Khaleed Najeeb Suharwardy stated this in the Assembly here on Saturday. He said the government had come across these cases as they had been registered in police stations across the state. Mr Suharwardy, who was replying to a question by Bahujan Samaj Party legislator Sheikh Abdul Rehman, said these deaths were reported over a period of five years beginning in January 1997 and ending in January this year. He said even if these cases were taken at their face value, there had been a considerable decline in such killings. But he did not give any comparative figures.