Hurriyat all set to expel Lone sons
31 August 2002
The Indian Express
Srinagar: A battle of wits has begun in Kashmir’s separatist conglomerate, the Hurriyat Conference, aimed at expelling the People’s Conference led by the sons of assassinated leader Abdul Gani Lone — Sajjad and Bilal Lone — from the 23-member outfit for clandestinely participating in the Assembly polls. Sources in fact said that the Hurriyat council has finalised a resolution seeking the party’s ouster. And could use today’s outburst by the party jailed general secretary Ghulam Ahmad Gulzar against the Lone brothers to ask the two sides to prove who actually represents the People’s Conference. Gulzar issued a hard- hitting statement dubbing the Lone brothers as traitors and accusing them for engaging in anti-movement activities by fielding dummy candidates. He accused them of betraying the cause of martyrs of Kashmir as well as their father Abdul Gani Lone’s supreme sacrifice. Gulzar also said that the party’s supreme council formed after the killing of the senior Lone, which includes the Lone brothers and Sofi, was ‘‘undemocratic and detrimental to the freedom movement of Kashmir’’. Gulzar sought a meeting of the party general council to discuss the issue with jailed senior vice-chairman, Dr Ghulam Mohammad Hubbi, and hold polls to the chairman’s post within three months. In the meantime, he asked the party to nominate an acting chairman to the Hurriyat executive. Gulzar also asked the Hurriyat to delink itself from the Lone brothers in discussions related to the People’s Conference. Both Sajjad and Bilal Lone — who have taken over respectively as chairman and representative in the Hurriyat executive council — have publically denied playing any role in the poll process and claimed that all leaders contesting the polls have either resigned or are no longer associated with the party. Reacting to Gulzar’s blitzkrieg, the People’s Conference expelled Gulzar accusing him of being a puppet in the hand of vested interests responsible for the assassination of Abdul Gani Lone and conniving with a NC minister. A spokesman claimed that the NC was unnerved by the party’s popular support and was trying to rope in its workers and slain Lone confidants to harm it. The spokesman also claimed that Gulzar was being released in the next few days with the same aim in view. These developments assume significance in the wake of Hurriyat executive meeting called to discuss the issue on Monday. The Hurriyat is expected to seek an explanation therein from Bilal Lone on the issue of clandestinely fielding candidates in the elections. In fact, the Hurriyat had found it difficult to take any disciplinary action against the party till date especially because the Lone brothers publically denied their involvement. Sources said that the Lone brothers have devised a strategy to counter the expulsion threat putting forth the case of a Jamaat leader and a close associate of Syed Geelani — Khaliq Hanief, who has also joined the poll fray from Sonawari seat after his expulsion — seeking similar action against the Jamaat-e-Islami.