Friday, July 28, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


J A M M U   &   K A S H M I R
School children offer morning prayers in Bimbhat village in Drass sector, northeast of Srinagar July 26, 2000. Last summer all the schools were closed due to fights between Indian army and Pakistani backed intruders. More than 400 Indian army personnel were killed in the three month battle.    REUTERS/Fayaz Kabli
Schoolchildren offer morning prayers in Bimbhat village in Dras sector, northeast of Srinagar, on Thursday. Last summer all schools were closed due to fighting between the Indian Army and Pakistan-backed intruders.  — Reuters

Government response generates debate
JAMMU, July 27 — What has been the Government response to the ceasefire declared by the Hizbul Mujahideen? What would be the Government’s response to it in the near future?

Ceasefire decision hasty: APHC
SRINAGAR, July 27 — The All-Party Hurriyat Conference  has described the unilateral ceasefire of the Hizbul Mujahideen as a hasty move that would only lead to crisis in view of the present situation in Jammu and Kashmir.





Government response generates debate
From M.L. Kak
Tribune News Service

JAMMU, July 27 — What has been the Government response to the ceasefire declared by the Hizbul Mujahideen? What would be the Government’s response to it in the near future?

These two questions are being discussed not only in mainstream political organisations but also among the separatist camps. The first to respond to the ceasefire announcement has been the police and the Army. Both of these forces have announced that operations against the activists of Hizbul Mujahideen have been suspended. Since the police has complete details about the activists and supporters of the Hizbul Mujahideen security forces have been asked not to engage them in encounters or arresting them unless they create any law and order problem.

Though some Hurriyat Conference leaders treat the decision of the police and the Army to suspend operations against the Hizbul Mujahideen activists and supporters as part of “compulsion”, it has, at the same time, created an impression in the State that the Government was not inclined to ignore Hizbul leaders and activists as had been the case when groups of militants who gave up the gun were left high and dry, forcing some of them to rejoin militancy and others were eliminated by the rebels.

Sources close to Abdul Majid Dar, Chief Commander, Hizbul Mujahideen, who took the most daring step in announcing the unilateral ceasefire, said “we are waiting for the Government to initiate a dialogue with the separatists” for resolving the Kashmir turmoil peacefully.

The Hizbul Mujahideen activists prefer political response to the offer of ceasefire. They are not prepared to remain content with Indian political leaders welcoming the ceasefire announcement.

According to a senior Hurriyat Conference leader, who wished to remain unidentified, the Government of India “has no other alternative but to hold talks with separatists and even with Pakistan.” While explaining his contention he said that India had made it known that Delhi would resume talks only-after militants announced ceasefire. “Now that the most powerful militant outfit has announced ceasefire it is mandatory on the part of India to hold talks with Kashmiri rebels and Pakistan,” he said adding that this has been the wish of the US Government and other developed nations.

The Hurriyat Conference leader dropped a broad hint that the conglomerate of 25 religious and political organisation was watching the situation minutely. The Hurriyat Conference could modify its stand on the ceasefire. During the yesterday’s meeting of the executive committee of the Hurriyat Conference the organisation had dissociated itself from the Hizb stand on the plea that the ceasefire decision was a hasty step and the Hizbul Mujahideen had not taken into account the political development and India’s political gameplan.

When asked whether the Hurriyat stand on the Hizb ceasefire order was dictated by agencies across the border the Hurriyat leader said “wait for another week. We are monitoring the developments not only in Jammu and Kashmir but in Pakistan also.”

Hurriyat leaders and other separatist groups are fully aware of the impact of Hizb ceasefire on the security scenario in Kashmir provided the Government of India took initiative on resuming talks with Pakistan and the Kashmiri separatists for settling the Kashmir issue.

However, official sources are of the opinion that the Government cannot put all its eggs in the Hizbul Mujahideen basket. It has to reckon with the activities of other dreaded pro-Pak militant outfits and with the machinations of Pak agencies engaged in pushing into Jammu and Kashmir more groups of guerrillas for kicking up subversive violence.

These sources said the Government will have to take calculated steps so that the ceasefire may not turn a trap for India in the sense that New Delhi would be forced by the US Government to resume talks with Islamabad after the guns have fallen silent, a condition placed by the Government of India for holding tripartite talks. As such the ceasefire offer has enhanced peoples’ interest in the events that may emerge in the next one month.


Ceasefire decision hasty: APHC
Tribune News Service

SRINAGAR, July 27 — The All-Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) has described the unilateral ceasefire of the Hizbul Mujahideen as a hasty move that would only lead to crisis in view of the present situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

The “Hizbul Mujahideen should not have taken such a hasty decision at this juncture, but instead kept in view the political and historical delicacies”, a statement issued by the APHC stated here last evening.

The meeting was held at the residence of the Jamaat-e-Islami leader, Syed Ali Shah Geelani. The APHC Chairman, Prof Abdul Ghani Bhat, presided over the meeting.

Others who were present at the meeting included Mr Abdul Ghani Lone, Moulana Abbas Ansari, Mr Bashir Ahmad Bhat (JKLF), Mr Bashir Ahmad Tota (Peoples League) and Mr Ghulam Nabi Zaki of the Awami Action Committee.

The JKLF leader Mohammad Yasin Malik could not attend the meeting as he is undergoing treatment in Delhi. The Awami Committee was represented by Mr Zaki.

The Hurriyat Conference spokesman said a collective political beginning was needed for a fruitful and result-oriented dialogue. He added that partial political tactics and unilateral actions would only create hurdles in the resolution of the Kashmir issue. “Therefore, the Hurriyat Conference wants to make it clear to the whole world that solution to the Kashmir issue lies in the dialogue between the parties concerned under the set international principles”, the statement added. It added that the resolution of the Kashmir issue was most needed in view of the growing threat of nuclear weaponry in South Asia.

Reiterating the resolution on the Kashmir issue, the APHC spokesman also criticised the role of Indian political parties for creating hurdles in any possible settlement of the Kashmir issue. He also supported the cause of militants, who were part and parcel of Kashmir.

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