Saturday, February 17, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Hurriyat, govt trade charges
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, February 16
The Hurriyat Conference and the government have been blaming each other for the violation of the unilateral ceasefire which began on November 28 last and has been extended twice. Both sides have claimed an increase in violence and thereby killings in the trouble-torn state in the past over two months of the unilateral ceasefire announced by the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee.

The militant organisations which have rejected the ceasefire offer of the Central Government, though regarded by the Hurriyat Conference as a positive step have stepped up their attacks on the security forces. Three such major incidents took place after the first term of the month-long ceasefire was extended beyond December 28 last year. The first such attack was made at Red Fort in New Delhi followed by an aborted attempt on the life of the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah, here on January 14 and a suicide attack at the entry to the airport here on January 16.

According to official estimates, militants killed at least 242 persons and injured over 400 from November 28 last year up to February 13. Those killed included 16 politicians, including 15 from the ruling National Conference in the state. The security forces had killed 187 militants during this period while 54 security force personnel were also killed in these incidents. The number of those killed in the same period, prior to the announcement of the ceasefire, was 154 while more than 200 others were injured during that period, the official estimates revealed.

On the other hand, a spokesman for the Hurriyat Conference, said 250 civilians were killed with the beginning of ceasefire, most of them from the Kashmir valley. At least 24 others were also killed while in custody, the spokesman claimed, adding 30 residential houses were blasted and over 10 women harassed.

Questioning the announcement of the unilateral ceasefire the Hurriyat spokesman said it had already responded to the announcement in a positive way and had expressed the hope that concrete steps would be taken to “resolve the Kashmir issue”. He claimed that the Central Government “played the ceasefire as a card only” and created hurdles in the “peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue” and hoodwinked the unilateral ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir. The Hurriyat Conference has also expressed concern over the alleged custodial killings in the valley over the past few days. The trouble had started with the killing of an autorickshaw driver, Bilal Ahmad Khan here late last month. While the police denied any involvement in the killing, the Hurriyat Conference blamed the government and the security forces for the killings.


Pak visit for peace: Hurriyat
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 16
Hurriyat Conference said today peace was its goal and its agenda for the proposed Pakistan visit was to convert the unilateral ceasefire of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee into a “multilateral” one.

The agenda for visiting Pakistan will be to ensure that armed groups on the other side of border also accept the ceasefire, senior Hurriyat leader Yaseen Malik told mediapersons here.

Mr Malik charged Union Minister L.K. Advani and George Fernandes with derailing the peace process and said that ceasefire should be extended only if the agencies in Jammu and Kashmir were ready to enforce it on ground in letter and spirit.

The unilateral ceasefire announced by the Prime Minister has been effective only during the first month. It has been violated and blown to pieces in the subsequent extension especially by Union Minister L.K. Advani and George Fernandes and the state Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, Mr Malik claimed before reporters here. He alleged that 23 custodial deaths had taken place during the ongoing “unilateral ceasefire” announced by the Centre.

Mr Malik, who is here in connection with some court cases, said the Hurriyat Conference had moved two steps in response to one from the government and has offered its services to convince the groups on other side to accept the ceasefire.

Asked whether the Hurriyat delegation would be able to convince militant outfits like the Lashkar-e-Toiba and the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, Mr Malik said that they were confident of a positive response. The trip to Pakistan is a reciprocal gesture to Centre’s peace initiative and the ball lies in the Centre’s court, he said. Blaming the Centre for trying to divide the Hurriyat Conference, he said having announced the agenda the government should give travel documents to all five leaders nominated by the Hurriyat Conference to travel to Pakistan.Back


Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
121 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |