July 2002 News

Sajjad asks Salah-ud-Din to return and lead anti-election campaign

6 July 2002
The Daily Excelsior
Aijaz Hussain

Srinagar: Son of the slain separatist leader, Abdul Gani Lone and chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Conference (JKPC), Sajjad Lone, has dismissed the Prime Ministers Officeís (PMO) latest blue print on Kashmir as an ''utter non-sense''. According to him, the story of the so-called ĎThird Frontí floated by Star News, is nothing but ''a concoction by a sick mind''. In an exclusive interview to EXCELSIOR, first to any newspaper after his fatherís assassination, Sajjad Lone ruled out any possibility of his quitting the Hurriyat Conference and joining the so-called ĎThird Front''. ''Weíll make the Hurriyat stronger and thereís no question of leaving it and going to some obscure 3rd or 4th or 10th Front,'' he said of his categoric plans to remain within the 9-year-old separatist umbrella. '' I have nothing but contempt for the (Star Television) story,'' he said while imploring that his name be no more associated with any ĎThird Frontí. Asked for his reaction to Hizbul Mujahideen supremo and head of Mutahida Jehad Council (MJC), Syed Salah-ud-din asking the Hurriyat to immediately launch the anti-election campaign, Sajjad Lone asserted that such statements would only ''erode the sanctity of a boycott''. People of Kashmir, according to Lone, had been voluntarily registering their protest against assembly elections in the form of a boycott. ''But, once you have a non-political mobilisation issuing a statement that it should be enforced, the very sanctity of this sacred sacrifice is undermined,'' he argued. Added he: '' So people who issue such statements should ask their conscience in whose favour do such statements go''. He contended that such statements were not in favour of Kashmiris. Sajjad said categorically that his Peoples Conference would never participate in any elections to be held for choosing representatives for any administrative set-up. He clarified that his party was not against the concept of elections and asserted that it would get into the fray only when the elections are for resolution of Kashmirís political problem. According to Sajjad, the traditional election in Jammu and Kashmir are ''portrayed and marketed'' through out the world as an endorsement of the stateís accession to India. ''This, actually, is the basic problem. Hence these elections are irrelevant to us,'' he emphasised. Sajjad, however, admitted that, like his father in the last few years, he would continue to raise the day-to-day administrative problems afflicting the people of Kashmir. ''If somebody thinks people can live without it, I think they are mistaken. Administrative and day-to-day problems that are faced by people have to be tackled. I donít think goals of Azadi are in anyway in conflict with administrative requirements of the nation,'' he explained. ''Iíll go with my people and see to it that they get relief in whatever way. It is a different matter whether my help will count or not, but Iíll certainly try my best. We have to see that we are living in one of the most backward places on earth. If you donít give administrative succour to people here, where would you give it? In America?'' Ebullient and defiant Sajjad Lone, who also happens to be the son-in-law of Pakistan based JKLF chairman Amanullah Khan, suggested the MJC chief to return and lead the proposed anti-election campaign within the Valley. ''After Lone Sahibís martyrdom, we need people like him to lead us. But, let him return and enforce what he wants us to enforce. He cannot possibly convince people by sitting there,'' said the junior Lone who pulled a 20,000 strong crowd in Kupwara on Sunday last. He said he had enough of respect for Salah-ud-din and would love to work under his leadership at home. Had he sincerely withdrawn allegation of his fatherís assassination against Pakistanís ISI or he had acted under pressure? ''Iíll repeat what I said and I request you to publish it completely. I said it was an emotional outburst. But, I do not rule out anybody including the people I have named. If you feel it was backtrack, I leave it to your conscience,'' he remarked. The Peoples Conference chief unequivocally said that he had every detail of the assassins of his father but clarified that ''he had nothing against persons who pulled the trigger (to kill Mr Gani Lone).'' ''There are three elements in my fatherís assassination. One people who paved the way; second, people who made the conducive environment, and third, people who conspired to kill,'' he elaborated and added: ''The people who pulled the trigger could be any person and are themselves helpless and donít know what they are doing. The killer is a symptom of the first three agents, symptoms of the malaise which has afflicted Kashmir.'' Who were the Ďclose oneís who paved way for the Mr Loneís assassinations? According to Sajjad, ''People who used to be close to Mr Lone did create a conducive environment where it would look very natural that why he was killed.'' He pointed out that the content analysis of statements and newspapers one month prior to Mr Loneís killing, would answer a many questions. He sought to clarify that he had nothing against the friends of Mr Lone. ''If somebody has been a friend of my father, Iíll see my father in him. But if somebody was an enemy and was labelled as friend, Iíll see him as an enemy,'' he elaborated. ''I would not want to come up with any names. My message has been conveyed that they are being unveiled. As far as I am concerned, I know who they are and they too know that I know who they are,'' Sajjad elaborated. He disclosed that the first thing he did after the assassination of Mr Lone was drafting a document. ''After seven or eight daysí of my fatherís assassination, I made a document and mailed it to a foreign country to keep it there,'' he said. He added that the document covers all aspects of Mr Loneís assassination. ''It details everything. I had requested my father to do the same and he was about to do it. But before that he was assassinated,'' he continued. Asked what were the contents of the document, he replied that it was a detailed analysis that culminated in to the assassination of Mr Lone. ''It covers, who, why, where, whenÖ of the incident,'' he revealed. He pointed out that short of assassins every name was mentioned in the document. ''I have put down the conspiracy theorists in my own hand writing. That is in very legal form which should be admissible anywhere,'' he added. Sajjad observed that the Kashmir struggle had become a ''multi- million dollar industry for some people''. ''There are many people who sell blood. By selling blood, I mean to say that when the toll of sacrifices is very high, there are many organisations, which claim money in the name of these people. The money, which never reaches Kashmir,'' he explained. He reiterated that he stood by his words uttered at a public gathering in Kupwara. ''It is a multi-million dollar industry and I stand by my words,'' added Sajad. The outspoken Peoples Conference chairman disagreed to the remarks that his party had its roots only in Kupwara. ''Even in the rigged elections, Peoples Conference stood a close second in as many as 10 to 12 constituencies fighting against the MUF and the National Conference,'' Sajjad said. While giving electoral statistics, he informed that in 1983 Assembly Elections, JKPC was a close second in Haveli in Poonch. ''In Rajouri, it was on the third place. In Bandipora, we got 17000 votes and in Sangrama we lost by just 2000 votes,'' he added. He emphasised that JKPC was ''fairly broad based party compared to any political party in the State''.

 

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