Monday, September 2, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

APHC defers decision
People’s Conference activists raise slogans
Tribune News Service and PTI

Srinagar, September 1
The separatist amalgam Hurriyat Conference today deferred till tomorrow a decision on a possible disciplinary action against one of its constituents Peoples Conference leaders Sajaad and Bilal Lone for their party’s dummy candidates’ participation in the Assembly elections.

Talking to reporters after a day-long discussion by the Hurriyat general council here, amalgam’s Chairman Abdul Gani Bhat said, “The executive council of Hurriyat will meet tomorrow again and brief the press.”

The APHC, of which Peoples Conference is a constituent, launched its anti-election programme yesterday, asking the people to “stay away from election politics”.

The Hurriyat Conference leaders, including Peoples Conference representative Hafeezullah Makhdoomi, discussed the issue for over seven hours at the party headquarters. The seven-member executive committee meeting for about an hour preceded the 23-member general council meeting. The executive committee members included its chairman, Prof Abdul Gani Bhat, founder chairman, Mirwaiz Moulvi Umar Farooq (AAC), Sheikh Ali (Jamaat-e-Islami), Shia leader Moulvi Abbas Ansari, Javed Ahmad Mir (JKLF), Khalil Mohammad Khalee (Peoples League) and the Peoples Conference Member, Hafeezullah Makhdoomi.

Meanwhile, over 200 supporters of the Peoples Conference from Kupwara district also arrived at the APHC headquarters at Rajbagh this afternoon and raised slogans in support of the Lone brothers. They had come to influence the Hurriyat leadership which was discussing the issue of possible action against the Peoples Conference leadership, amid reports that its representative Bilal Lone may be expelled from the seven-member executive council.

However, Peoples Conference Chairman Sajjad Ghani Lone declined to comment on the issue of the APHC discussing the controversy. “I will comment only when the Hurriyat Conference makes its decision,” Mr Sajjad Lone, younger son of Abdul Ghani Lone said, while a meeting of the working committee of Peoples conference was going on.

Later, a party spokesman told The Tribune that hundreds of their supporters urged the working committee to expel two associates of Abdul Ghani Lone, Gulzar Ahmad Gulzar and Dr G.M.Hubbi, at present under detention, for their ‘anti-party activities”. Mr Sajjad Lone has already denied that his party supported anyone for contesting the Assembly elections.

The controversy started following a statement from two detained leaders of the assassinated Hurriyat leader, Abdul Ghani Lone’s Peoples Conference, Dr Ghulam Mohammad Hubbi and Gulzar Ahmad. Three top leaders of the Peoples Conference, according to the statement by Gulzar Ahmad Gulzar, general secretary, were “expelled” from the basic membership of the party. The “expelled” leaders included Abdul Ghani Lone’s two sons Sajjad Ghani Lone and Bilal Ghani Lone, and Ghulam Mohiuddin Sofi.

The detained leaders, questioning the credentials of the Lone brothers, said the Supreme Council of the Peoples Conference came into existence undemocratically and unlawfully, following the killing of Abdul Ghani Lone on May 21 last. He alleged that the three members were “expelled” for their anti-movement activities and direct and indirect participation in the poll process.

Four candidates who filed their nomination papers from different constituencies in Kupwara, home district of Abdul Ghani Lone, were Ghulam Mohiuddin Sofi, Abdul Haq Khan, Abdul Rashid Mircha and Ghulam Qadir Malik from Handwara, Kupwara, Lolah and Karnah constituencies on Thursday.

Reacting to the alleged support to the participation of the four candidates, a Peoples Conference spokesman said here that Ghulam Mohiuddin Sofi had already resigned from the five-member Supreme Council of the party. He said that the Supreme Council comprising Sajjad Lone, Bilal Lone, Hafizullah Makhdoomi, Bashir Ali and Ghulam Mohiuddin Sofi, was constituted after the assassination of its founder leader, Abdul Ghani Lone. A new member would be appointed in place of Sofi at the next meeting of the party members, the spokesman added. The spokesman clarified that there were no members like vice-chairman or general secretary of the party. He added that both the detained leaders, Gulzar Ahmad Gulzar and Dr Ghulam Mohammad Hubbi had been expelled from the party.


George meets DFP chief Shabir Shah

New Delhi, September 1
In a sudden and significant development Defence Minister and National Democratic Alliance convener George Fernandes today met Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) chief Shabir Shah.

This change in the Centre’s approach seems to have taken place after sustained efforts by the Kashmir Committee to facilitate talks between the Centre and separatist leaders in Jammu and Kashmir.

Mr Shah, who was denied an audience with Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishan Advani, also met a number of leaders, including Leader of the Opposition Sonia Gandhi. UNI

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