Hurriyat under US pressure to join polls
30 June 2002
The Hindustan Times
New Delhi: The Hurriyat Conference is said to be under pressure from western countries, including the US, to participate in the elections in Jammu and Kashmir. Recently, an American delegation led by Steve Sobto met Hurriyat leaders, including chairman Abdul Gani Bhat, and discussed the J&K polls. Sources said Bhat was shocked ed when Sobto said that the US did not recognise any organisation which ran away from a democratic exercise. Bhat''s attempt to justify their non- participation in the elections was countered by the delegation which made it emphatically clear that the Hurriyat should prove its representative character, the sources said. The amalgam has been receiving similar indications from other western countries, including European Union and Britain. The delegation''s talks with senior leaders have left the second rung Hurriyat men ''disheartened'', who view these as indicative of depletion of support to the amalgam. The delegation also met Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front vice-president Javed Ahmed Mir and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and conveyed similar views to both of them.