‘Both Mirwaiz And His Killer Buried In Eidgah Graveyard’3 January 2011
The Daily Excelsior
Jammu: Director General of Police (DGP) Kuldeep Khoda said today that what former Hurriyat Conference chairman Abdul Ghani Bhat has said about the killings of separatist and other mainstream leaders by the militants in a seminar at Kashmir yesterday was not surprising as it was known to all. In response to a question at a press conference this afternoon, Mr Khoda observed that Bhat has mentioned something which others knew very well and for past quite sometime. 'The Hurriyat leader has admitted a fact which all know’’, he said. The DGP said it was surprising that slain Mirwaiz Farooq and his killer were both buried in as 'martyrs' at the Eidgah graveyard in Srinagar. 'The killed and the killers both have been labeled as martyrs and buried in the same graveyard. This is surprising’’, he added. 'He (top Hurriyat leader Abdul Ghani Bhat) revealed what everybody knows about harsh realities of political killings by militants in Kashmir,' Khoda said. 'Mirwaiz Farooq was killed by militants. He and his killer (Abdullah Bangroo) were buried at martyrs’ graveyard in Eidgah. It is so surprising that the killer and the victim - both have been buried as martyrs,' the State police chief said. 'I do not know what is the reason for him (Bhat) to say this at this moment. But this is the truth,' he said adding separatists and mainstream political parties should tell the people about the 'harsh truth' of political killings in the Kashmir valley. Addressing a seminar yesterday, Bhat said that top separatist leaders Abdul Ghani Lone and Mirwaiz Farooq were not killed by the Government forces but 'our own people'. Mirwaiz Farooq and Lone were killed by militants in 1990 and 2002, respectively. Khoda said people should know the harsh truth behind the separatist movement and militancy in Kashmir valley and accused separatists of luring the youth to the path of violence and terror with money, which comes through various hawala channels to them. As far as separatist activities are concerned, they will be dealt with a strong hand, he said adding, 'we will not allow them to spoil peace and normalcy in the Valley.' Ghani Bhat, who had earlier served as chairman of the Hurriyat Conference and is now a senior leader of the amalgam, said yesterday in a seminar in Srinagar that two separatist leaders and his brother were killed by 'our own people’’ (an indication towards the militants) and not security agencies. 'Police or security agencies were not involved in the killing. Our own people killed them’’, he said. He opined that the time had come to speak the truth about the killers of Mirwaiz Muhammad Farooq and Abdul Ghani Lone and his own brother Mohammad Sultan Bhat. 'What is the need to identify them? They are already identified’’, Bhat said. Mirwaiz Farooq, father of present chairman of moderate faction of Hurriyat Conference, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was shot dead at his residence on May 21, 1990 while Ghani Lone, father of Hurriyat executive member Billal Lone and another separatist leader Sajjad Lone, was gunned down during a commemorative rally for the senior Mirwaiz on the same day in 2002. Mohammad Sultan Bhat was murdered in 1995. Bhat said his brother was killed by those espousing the cause of separatists. Reacting to Bhat’s statement, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ali Mohammad Sagar described the admission by separatists as a 'good development’’. 'It has taken the separatists a very long time to admit the reality. However, it is better late than never’’, he said. PTI adds from Srinagar: The State Government has held that then Hizbul Mujahideen commander Mohammad Abdullah Bangroo had killed Mirwaiz Mohammad Farooq while a commander of Al-Umar Mujahideen had shot dead senior Lone. Hizbul Mujahideen is considered to be ideologically inclined towards hardline Hurriyat faction leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani while Al Umar is believed to be the militant-wing of Awami Action Committee headed by the Mirwaiz. Geelani refused to comment on the statements made by the former chairman of the undivided Hurriyat Conference. 'I have nothing to say about their remarks,' Geelani told. CPI(M) State secretary M Y Tarigami said Bhat’s statement was 'revealing' and the incidents need credible investigation. 'A credible investigation should be carried out so that responsibility for the killings is fixed,' Tarigami said. Sajjad Gani Lone, the youngest son of the slain leader, had blamed Geelani for the killing but retracted his statement few years later. A senior Hurriyat leader, who did not wish to be named, said there was nothing new in Bhat’s remarks. 'Bhat has made the same speech in ‘Azad Jammu and Kashmir’ (Pakistan-occupied Kashmir) Assembly five years ago,' the leader said. Bilal Lone and the Mirwaiz chose not to react to the statement. Sources in the Hurriyat said that the leaders of the amalgam will maintain a 'meaningful' silence over the remarks. The moderate faction of the Hurriyat is unhappy with the way Geelani had handled the recent summer unrest in the Valley as many of them questioned the tactics of strikes and stone-pelting during a seminar yesterday. Bhat said the separatist leaders have to be 'realistic' if they are serious about resolution of the Kashmir issue and should stop treating the mainstream parties as 'untouchables'. 'We have to sit together if Kashmir issue has to be resolved permanently. The separatists should support and strengthen the efforts of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah in this direction,' he said. In response to a question about unity efforts among the separatists, Bhat said it was 'irrelevant' at the moment and that he would take a decision about it in his individual capacity if such a development takes place. 'I have never been part of and never will be part of any meaningless exercise. Why are you flogging us with the unity lash,' the Hurriyat leader said. Hurriyat Conference suffered a vertical split in September 2003 after Geelani accused Bhat and other moderate leaders of not running an effective anti-election campaign in 2002 Assembly polls when he was in jail. Geelani also accused People’s Conference headed by Bilal and Sajjad Lone of participating in the Assembly elections through proxy candidates.