January 2003 News

Mufti Killing ‘freedom Movement’ In The Name Of Healing Touch: Hizb

24 January 2003
The Daily Excelsior
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

Srinagar: Leading Kashmiri militant organisation, Hizbul Mujahideen, has begun to interpret the PDP-led coalition Government’s healing touch and demolition drive in a hostile way. The outfit’s 'Central Field Command Council' today observed that Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed was actually killing a 'freedom movement' in the name of applying healing touch to the wounds of the people of Jammu & Kashmir. In a significant development, Hizbul Mujahideen’s top operational body pooh-poohed the Mufti Government’s populist measures like carrying out a major demolition drive in Srinagar and other towns in Kashmir valley. A Statement faxed to the local news agency CNS, said that Hizb had taken a serious note of the current political situation and policies of the Mufti Government. It said that a meeting of the 'Central Field Command Council', presided over by 'chief operational commander' Saiful Islam, discussed the present Kashmir situation in length and decided to evolve a co-ordinated strategy to frustrate the Mufti Government’s policies. The Hizb body observed that Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s Government had employed the policy of making Kashmiris fight one another and thus perpetuate its 'puppet' rule in the State. It accused the Government of backtracking on its promises of disbanding the Special Operations Group (SOG). Hizb claimed that deploying members of the SOG, Village Defence Committees (VDCs) and yet-to-be-introduced Jammu & Kashmir Voluntary Force (JKVF), at Police Stations was, in fact, a gameplan to involve the State Police in counter-insurgency operations. The meeting took exception to the Mufti Government’s demolition drive and dismissed it as a plot to turn the city in rubble. It alleged the campaign, going on in the name of removing encroachments, was a sinister plan of the Indian intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and the Ministry of Defence. The objective, according to the Hizb Statement, was to impoverish the people of Kashmir so as to make them submissive to the Mufti Government. According to the Hizb Statement, Mufti was determined to kill the 'freedom movement' and he was pursuing this policy in the name of applying a healing touch to the people of Kashmir. It urged the Kashmiris not fall in Mufti’s trap. It also supported the call of shutdown on January 25th and 26th, seeking release of the Jamaat-e-Islami’s detained leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani and a protest on India’s Republic Day. Apparently upset over the impact generated by certain measures of the coalition Government, a number of militant organisations have begun to directly attack Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and his Government in their Statements. One of the outfits has also threatened to extend its offensive to Mufti’s PDP activists if the Government continued to 'renege from its promises'. However, MLA Pampore, Abdul Aziz Mir, is the only PDP member who has been eliminated in Mufti’s party. Today’s Hizb Statement is significant in the sense that it has, without any equivocation, labelled Mufti as an executor of the Indian intelligence gameplans. The PDP-led Government’s achievement in providing better power supply, generating accountability in Government offices, reviving institutions of the executive after 13 years and infusing a sense of empowerment among the common people— particularly in Kashmir valley—has been widely appreciated. Consequently, the 13-year-long administrative vacuum is diminishing fast and overwhelming majority of the people is identifying itself with the new Government. As this situation is likely to reduce the level of alienation and a remarkable number of militants have already laid down arms, guerrilla outfits have begun to show signs of nervousness. The Hizb turnaround vis-ŕ-vis Mufti is also significant due to the fact that, while continuing strikes on the National Conference (NC) workers, the outfit had provided support of silence to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the recent Assembly elections. According to reports, at several places militants had asked the people to vote for PDP in case they were forced to come out by security forces. Analysts believe that Mufti’s promise of disbanding SOG and releasing detained militants, besides freezing the POTA, had prompted all militant outfits to go soft on the PDP. Contrary to the expectations of militant outfits, Mufti diluted his stand on the SOG and declared to introduce a new counter-insurgent force at all Police Stations in Jammu & Kashmir. He also imposed officials of Intelligence Bureau on the Screening Committees (previously headed by respective Deputy Commissioners) and left it to their wisdom to release or not to release the political detainees. What, however, has really unnerved the militant organisations is Mufti’s recent announcement of introducing a 'Voluntary Force' of Special Police Officers to counter 'cross-border terrorism' in the State. Cong activist gunned down Meanwhile, militants have shot dead a Congress (I) activist, Mohammad Nasir Banday, at Nagshirin village in Shopian area this afternoon. While as his father, Abdul Majeed Banday, had been shot dead by militants in 1991, brother Mohammad Shafi Banday was the Congress (I) candidate from Shopian in recent Assembly elections. He lost to PDP’s Ghulam Hassan Khan. Two civilians sustained injuries and four residential houses suffered damage at Isham village, near LoC in Uri sector, when Pakistani troops directed heavy shelling on Indian positions. Exchange of shelling has been going on since last evening between Pakistani and Indian security forces in Uri and Batalik sectors. Police and security forces have recovered 20 Kgs of liquefied RDX and an electronic detonator from a passenger bus near Sumbal. The vehicle was on way to Srinagar from Bandipore.


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