January 2008 News

Kashmiris open to truce offer, says UJC

29 January 2008
The Dawn

SRINAGAR: Kashmiri militants announced on Tuesday they would not use guns to force voters to boycott elections in occupied Kashmir due later this year and reiterated they were open to a truce offer, a report said. “All members of the Jihad Council will take part in the anti-election movement,” said Syed Salahudin, who heads the United Jihad Council. “But guns will not be used to force Kashmiris to boycott the polls,” he said, as the occupied Kashmir’s state assembly neared the end of its six-year term, with elections for the 87-member legislature due before mid-November. Salahudin, who also heads the region’s most powerful group Hizbul Mujahedin, did not say how the freedom fighters would carry out a peaceful anti-election campaign. But he appealed to the Kashmiri leadership to “unite and launch intense anti-election campaigns in towns and villages” and warned if troops “coerced” people into voting, the Mujahideen would use guns against them. Salahudin also repeated an offer last September that the militant alliance was willing to entertain a truce offer but did not go into details. “If such an offer comes from respectable quarters, the militant groups... can consider (it) and respond accordingly,” he said.—AFP

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