Hizbul Mujahedeen offers ceasefire if India includes them in talks
30 March 2006
The Daily Times
Srinagar: A Pakistan-based rebel group fighting India over Kashmir said a ceasefire was possible if New Delhi recognised such groups as parties to the dispute, according to a report published on Thursday. “Not only Hizbul Mujahedeen but also the entire militant leadership would consider (a) truce if the Indian government acknowledges the disputed and tripartite nature of the Kashmir issue,” Hizbul supreme commander Syed Salahudin told the Kashmir News Service in a telephone interview from Pakistan. Salahudin - who is also the chairman of the Pakistan-based Kashmiri militant alliance, the United Jihad Council – wanted talks between India, Pakistan and Kashmiris before agreeing to a ceasefire. New Delhi has met moderate Kashmiri separatist groups in the past year as part of an effort to discuss the dispute and reduce violence. At least 44,000 people have been killed since the insurgency was launched in 1989. But Salahudin said those talks have not helped. “The dialogue process initiated by the moderate leadership has so far failed to produce any breakthrough in terms of Kashmir resolution,” he said. Salahudin, who tops the security force list of most wanted militants, said violence would decline as the dialogue process moves forward. “In Afghanistan, Vietnam and other conflict areas war and dialogue have run side by side. Armed confrontation would automatically recede as serious dialogue process moves forward,” he said. However, he said groups such as his would continue to boycott elections in Indian-held Kashmir. “As we don’t recognise the Indian constitution, taking part in Indian-held elections is immaterial,” he said.