Jihad Council vows to continue struggle in J&K
16 May 2002
The Times of India
SRINAGAR: The United Jihad Council vowed on Thursday to continue its armed struggle against Indian troops even as New Delhi contemplated its response to the Jammu attack. The statement by the United Jihad Council - a conglomerate of over a dozen militant groups - came as Indian ministers and Army commanders met to devise a response to Tuesday''s attack by militants on a bus and an army camp in Jammu, which killed 35 people. ''The fight against Indian troops will continue until they no longer occupy the land of Kashmir,'' said the statement from the council, which is based in Pakistan occupied Kashmir. ''To give up the armed struggle for unpurposeful political process or dialogue would amount to betraying the sacrifices of 90,000 martyrs,'' it added. Indian authorities put the number of people killed in Kashmir''s 13-year-old insurgency at 35,000, but separatists say it is between 80,000 and 100,000. ''The armed struggle was launched only after political means to find a solution to the issue of Kashmir failed miserably,'' the statement said. The council warned those who it said were trying to derail the ''ongoing freedom struggle by paving way for the upcoming state polls for their personal gains.'' ''These people can''t escape from their horrible ends,'' it said. Elections are due in Kashmir later this year. Leaders of the militant group Hizbul Mujahedin have already said they will boycott the polls, which separatists say will be rigged by India. The council is headed by Syed Salahudin, who is also supreme commander of Hizbul Mujahedin.