Salahudin sets fresh conditions for Kashmir truce
28 November 2006
The News International
Srinagar: Militants battling Indian rule in Kashmir are ready to declare a truce if New Delhi frees jailed fighters, cuts troop levels and ends rights violations, a top militant told a Srinigar-based news agency on Tuesday. We are ready to announce a truce even today, but for that India will have to accept our three conditions, Syed Salahudin, who heads a militant alliance called the United Jihad Council, told the Urdu-language Current News Service (CNS). All the prisoners should be released unconditionally, strength of troops (should) be cut down to the pre-1989 position, and human rights violations (should) be stopped, he said. Salahudin told CNS he would be the happiest person if guns on both sides stop roaring. But he also criticised moderates for holding talks with New Delhi. The talks have served no purpose so far, said Salahudin, who also heads Hizb-ul-Mujahideen. Salahudins comments came amid continued violence in the region, with an Indian army officer and one of the top militant commanders reported killed. Army soldiers have shot dead Muhammad Ashraf Bhat alias Sohail Faisal in Bijbehara town. One of our officers also laid down his life during the operation, army spokesman Anil Kumar Mathur told AFP. He said Sohail was the self-styled divisional commander of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen and had been active in the scenic Himalayan region for the past 12 years. Later, thousands of Kashmiris thronged to the funeral of Sohail Faisal. Meanwhile, police said nine people were wounded, two seriously, when suspected militants threw a hand grenade at a bus carrying Indian tourists in the village of Tangmarg.