Salahuddin Blasts ‘hartal Policy’, Says Ready For Talks14 January 2011
The Indian Express
Srinagar: United Jihad Council chief Syed Salahuddin has again slammed the Hurriyat’s sustained hartal strategy that shut Kashmir for much of the last summer and autumn. He also said he was ready for talks with the Indian government if a “sincere” offer was made to him. In a telephonic interview with a local news agency in Srinagar, Salahuddin said the “wrong policy and emotionalism” diluted last year’s agitation. “We have to sit down and chalk out a result-oriented program. No nation can remain dependent on constant strikes,” Salahuddin, who is also chief of Kashmir’s largest militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen, said. Salahuddin said he had given good advice (to reconsider the hartal policy) to “friends” (the separatists),but they did not listen. “And now, they regret.” His opposition to strikes at the height of the agitation was rejected by the Hurriyat’s hardline faction. He urged the separatist leadership to start a “joint campaign” for separation from India. He disapproved of hardline Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s contention that merger of Hurriyat was not necessary, saying “complete separatist unity” was the only way forward. Salahuddin said he was in favour of a dialogue with Centre, if the offer was sincere. “If a sincere offer comes from the Government of India for talks.... we are ready to accept,” he said, but reiterated his traditional stand that the dialogue should involve India, Pakistan and Kashmiris.