May 2002 News

I was being threatened, Lone told HT

21 May 2002
The Hindustan Times

New Delhi: Abdul Gani Lone had been receiving veiled death threats for some time. ''You are tired and old and you should retire. That''s what the anonymous callers keep telling me. But I am not so tired that I should retire before peace prevails in Kashmir,'' Lone told the Hindustan Times in an interview last week. Lone was clear violence was not the way out. ''We need to talk to the Indian and Pakistani Governments for a solution.'' Asked if he and the other Hurriyat moderate Mirwaiz Umer Farooq would participate in the September elections, Lone said they could decide only after talks. ''Let the Government talk to us and we can discuss the elections.'' Lone was particularly bitter that last year the state Government had whittled down his security force from 18 to six. ''I have told them so many times that I and my family keep getting threats. Forget Farooq Abdullah, even the Centre does not listen,'' he complained. Lone said the first threat came after he told Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf at the former Pakistani High Commissioner''s tea party, at the time of the Agra summit in 2001, that Kashmiris were fed up with violence. He had made a similar statement in Pakistan when his son married separatist leader Amanullah Khan''s daughter. The threats increased after he returned from his meeting with ISI chief Ehsan-ul Haq in Dubai and publicly condemned jehad. Lone had hoped Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee''s planned visit in June would carry the peace process forward. ''He is not as inimical to Kashmir''s interests as the rest. Let us see what he says,'' he said. Lone''s son Bilal, who last met him at 2.15 p.m. on Wednesday, repeated the allegation that his father''s security had been reduced. His elder brother Sajjad said the ISI was involved in Lone''s killing. Lone’s family said Hurriyat hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani was also involved.

 

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