Salahudin flays Hurriyat offer on elections
7 July 2002
The Indian Express
Srinagar: United Jehad Council chief Syed Salahudin has strongly criticised the conditions laid down by Hurriyat chairman for the conglomerate’s participation in the Assembly polls, calling his recent meeting with Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee’s envoy a ‘‘political conspiracy’’. ‘‘Kashmiris have not sacrificed 90,000 lives to participate in an election held under the ambit of the Indian Constitution and accept Kashmir as a part of India,’’ Salahudin, who heads the largest indigenous Kashmiri militant group Hizbul Mujahideen, wrote in Pakistani Urdu daily Jasarat. The conditions laid down by Hurriyat chairman Abdul gani Bhat, Salahudin said, cannot be a justification for participation in the polls. He was referring to Bhat’s statement that the Hurriyat would take part in the polls if there was a ‘‘complete withdrawal of Indian armed forces from the LoC; release of all prisoners; halt to all rights violations and a ceasefire between mujahideen and Indian armed forces’’. ‘‘If the Hurriyat leadership thinks in this direction they need to do an immediate rethink to keep in tune with sentiments of the Kashmiri people,’’ Salahudin wrote. He also claimed that the Indian Government would not accept any of Bhat’s conditions but ‘‘would certainly want to malign the Hurriyat leadership before the Kashmiris’’. Even world powers were trying to convince the Hurriyat to take part in polls, he said, referring to the recent visit of US officials to the Valley. Salahudin termed Pakistan’s assurance to the international community as ‘‘a major success for India because it amounted to accepting ‘‘a ban on the legal right of Kashmiris living on either side of the divide to communicate and interact’’. He said that his outfit would not abide by this.