Abdul Ghani Bhat Stands By Anti-separatist Tirade3 January 2011
Times of India
Srinagar: In perhaps the first such admission that has raised hackles among the hardline camp, moderate Hurriyat leader Abdul Ghani Bhat has called on the separatist to introspect over the killing of two of their colleagues 'by our own people'. 'No police was involved; our own people killed them,' Bhat said while referring to Mirwaiz Muhammad Farooq and Abdul Gani Lone at a seminar in Srinagar on Sunday. Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists had assassinated the Mirwaiz in May 1990, while Lone fell to bullets at a rally to commemorate the former's death anniversary 12 years later. The separatist had so far preferred silence or accused the state agencies of killing the two. Several second rung moderates were also killed in similar circumstances. Bhat said he was aware of the dangers of speaking the truth, but will not seal his mouth for the fear of death. 'The innocent killings should be abhorred. I stand by what I said at the seminar,' Bhat said on Monday. He assailed separatist hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani for browbeating the moderates and ruled out unity among the Hurriyat factions. 'We wouldn't agree to such a (unity) proposal,' he said. Bhat questioned Geelani's duplicity. 'He tells us not to talk to the government. But when the parliamentarians arrive, he meets them. You call me infidel when I enter into any sort of negotiation. Why this contradiction?' Bhat asked. Lone's son, Sajjad Lone, had accused the ISI of killing his father, but was forced into silence later. But Bhat's comments seemed to have a ripple effect, with Sajjad endorsing his statement, saying bitter truth must prevail. 'Bhat's statement (is) yet another chance for the nation to evolve. The least we owe to the people is the right to know who killed whom,' he posed on Facebook. His brother and moderate Hurriyat leader Bilal Lone said he had faltered as a son and didn't have the courage to speak about his father's killers.