May 2002 News

Dar & Co are RAW agents: Hizbul hawks

9 May 2002
The Indian Express
Muzamil Jaleel

Srinagar: Hardliners in the Hizbul have struck back calling the expelled commanders ‘‘RAW agents’’ in a move meant to isolate them in the Valley and undermine the credibility of any peace process involving them. In a statement issued today by Saif-ul-Islam, who replaced Abdul Majid Dar as chief commander in October, 2001, the group has accused the expelled commanders of being ‘‘hand in glove with RAW and other intelligence agencies.’’ The statement claims that the Dar group is being ‘‘engaged in a so called dialogue process to creat conducive atmosphere for holding Assembly elections.’’ Support for such a stand came promptly via a hard-hitting statement from the United Jehad Council, an amalgam of POK-based 18 militant groups also led by Hizbul Supremo, Syed Salah-ud-din. Without naming Dar and other expelled commanders, the statement called it a ‘‘fake group of vested interests created by RAW to derail the struggle of the Kashmiri people.’’ Taking strong note of the statements issued by the Dar group, UJC reiterated its ‘‘stand that any participation in the forthcoming poll process will be tentamount to betrayal to their cause and will be dealt with severely.’’ Salah-ud-din, in fact, had waited for a year before taking the extreme step to expel Dar and two other commanders. The decision, insiders said, was a pre-emptive move to counter the Hizbul doves’ plan to announce direct peace talks with New Delhi. ‘‘There were constant reports that the Dar group will make another peace announcement and will start talks with Delhi. To sabatoge any such move, the Hizb top brass had to take this decision,’’ a close confidant of Salah-ud-din told The Indian Express. ‘‘Once the announcement would have been made from the Hizbul platform inside Kashmir by commanders close to Dar, it would have made things difficult not only for Salah-ud-din but for the Pak establishment as well. There would have been a lot of international pressure on Musharraf to extend his support to the peace move,’’ he said. A top security agency official said the expulsion could have far-reaching consequences on the government’s efforts to rope in the Hizbul in peace talks. ‘‘A united Hizbul Mujahideen was the best in our interests. The division on the lines of hardliners and moderates will only harden the attitudes,’’ he said. ‘‘Now when efforts are being made within Hizbul to silence the moderate voices, it will provide an upper hand to those who are bent upon to continue with violence.’’


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