Hurriyat refrain of no-no to Assembly elections
20 May 2002
The Daily Excelsior
Srinagar: Top brass of All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) today reiterated their loud no to forthcoming Assembly elections and termed it a ''futile exercise''. While APHC chairman, Prof Abdul Gani Bhat emphasised that no differences exist in Hurriyat rank and file on ‘basic issues’, its executive member, Syed Ali Shah Geelani remarked that India’s ''imperialistic and illogical'' approach was stumbling block in solving the Kashmir issue. Addressing a well- attended gathering on a function organised on the 12th death anniversary of Mirwaiz Mohammad Farooq, Hurriyat chairman Prof Abdul Gani Bhat reiterated that elections were no solution to the Kashmir tangle. ''Martyrs have set goal for APHC and Hurriyat’s constitution is to defend it,'' Bhat pointed out. He emphasised that nobody would be allowed to ''sell the blood of martyrs''. Prof asserted that although some differences were existing on certain issues among Hurriyat leaders, but on the Kashmir issue, nothing as such was there. ''It is a sign of mature politics. We ponder over problems and discuss them. That is why differences do surface sometime'', he said. Bhat said that Kashmiris were final arbritraries of the resolution of Kashmir. ''Kashmiris are principle party and India and Pakistan its historical parties'', he added. He asserted that forth coming visit of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee would be non-productive unless he announces concrete steps leading to the solution of the Kashmir issue. ''PM would come and announce package. We understand what political and economic packages mean. But packages won’t bring psychological changes,'' he argued and added: ''These visits are for Paisa Phankou, Tamasha Dekho''. Bhat disclosed that some leaders outside the executive body of APHC were of the viewpoint to participate in elections. ''Their logic was that after elections, they would announce freedom is the Assembly,'' he continued and added: ''But we categorically rejected it and argued to them that their fate would be like of Sheikh Abdullah.'' ''The issue of the autonomy was also our argument. Even as resolution was passed but it was contemptuously rejected by India,'' Bhat said. Earlier, senior separatist leader and executive member, Abdul Gani Lone, brushing aside all speculations, termed it unfortunate that ''misinformation and rumours'' were being spread about him. ''When did I say I will participate in elections? How can ''they'' say I am preparing for elections without even uttering a word about it,'' Lone asked without naming any person. ''Are contesting elections infidelity. Is it an abuse,'' he asked, and added: ''We have said no to elections.'' Lone argued that election speculations were encouraging halfhearted elements to participate in elections. ''Hum Khud Election Ladnay Walay Tayar Karahay Hain,'' he said and added: ''If I have to contest elections, I will go for it, but we have taken a stand and we well abide by it.'' Lone said that world scenario changed after Sept 11. ''Sept 11 is a reality and the community which denies it, is doomed to vanish,'' he pointed out. He remarked that the country which recognized Afghanistan and supported it, was rendering helping hand to US to destroy the country. ''Mature politics has to be displayed without compromising on basic principles and accordingly modus operandi has to be adopted as per time and space,'' Lone added. Firebrand Jamaat-e-Islami leader and former chairman of APHC, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, in his speech alleged that India was a ''stumbling block'' in solving the Kashmir imbroglio. ''India’s illogical and imperialistic approach is scuttling all processes to solve the Kashmir issue'', he viewed. Geelani emphasised that they were not enemy of India or Indians. ''We love people of India. We want India be prosperous and independent state and also wish that it should not enter into the mad race of arms,'' he explained and added that, however, India was unlesing reign of terror in J&K. he blamed that India was taking Kaluchak incident as a ''lame excuse''. ''So many incidents occurred in Valley, why they are over- reacting to Kaluchak incident'', he argued. However, Geelani in the same breath condemned the attack and asserted that they were against the killing of innocent people. He disclosed that a incharge of Intelligence Bureau (IB) in Kashmir had more than two hours deliberations with him. ''He (intelligence sleuth) cam to me on March 24 this year and tried to persuade me on four things. One: support to peace process. Two: participation in election. Three: Disowning foreign militants and, Four: India and Pakistan to be taken at par'', Geelani told the audience. ''However, I argued that I have been for 15 years in the Assembly and elections have lost their relevance her. About foreign militants, I replied that 500 graveyards of local Mujahideen were in the Valley and you solve it and they (foreign militants) would understand themselves'', Geelani said. He informed that he told the officer that inspite of possibility of differences with Pakistan, they have supported Kashmiris since 1947. ''We hail and will continue to extend gratitude to Pakistan'', he added. Geelani claimed that the officer after the discussion pointed out that he had failed to convince him. ''I tell you all friends, talking to Indian officials is no problem. But the behaviour has to be clear, so that they find no loophole'', he elaborated and added: ''We reiterate our stand that nobody would be allowed to build palaces on the graves of martyrs''. The other senior Hurriyat leaders, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, Javaid Ahmed Mir, Moulana Abbas Ansari, Bashir Ahmed Tota and Shahid- ul-Islam were among others who spoke on the occasion.