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Hizbul chief slams strike calls by Kashmir separatists

Last updated on: January 14, 2011 19:22 IST

Hizbul chief slams strike calls by Kashmir separatists

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Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin has voiced his opposition to the frequent calls for strike during the unrest in the Valley last summer and said the leaders should now learn from their mistakes and not repeat them.

In an interview to a local news agency, which was carried by various newspapers in Srinagar, Salahuddin also said that the United Jehad Council, an amalgam of nearly 12 militant groups, will positively intervene if the Indian government comes up with a 'sincere' offer for talks for a resolution of the Kashmir issue.


Image: Paramilitary personnel during a curfew in Srinagar
Photographs: Reuters
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'No nation can observe strikes forever'

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Salahuddin, while touching upon various issues, questioned the way the summer unrest that left around 100 persons dead was handled in the valley by the separatists.

"Eighty five per cent of people in Kashmir live hand-to-mouth. No nation can observe strikes forever and remain under curfew. We had appealed to our friends on July 24 (last year) to strategise the movement, but unfortunately, they didn't listen," he said.

Asked to identify the people who did not listen to his advice, he said, "I do not want to identify them as it would harm the movement. But now they should learn a lesson from their mistakes."


Image: An anti-India protest in Kashmir
Photographs: Umar Ganie
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'Gun is the only solution'

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In his usual blow-hot, blow-cold policy, Salahuddin, while showing some inclination for a dialogue process with New Delhi, said at the same time, "Gun was the only solution".

He also warned separatists not to speak up against militancy.

"If India comes forward with a sincere offer for talks for the solution of Kashmir as per the wishes of our people, we are ready to respond positively," he said.

Salahuddin, who is also the self-styled supreme commander of Hizbul Mujahideen, said the Centre would have to talk to the separatist leadership in Kashmir but the militant organisation was willing to intervene positively if a solution to the issue emerges.


Image: A protestor sets a vehicle on fire in Srinagar
Photographs: Umar Ganie
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'It is a wastage of time'

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He said the dialogue process has to be conducted with sincerity and the Centre must accept Kashmir as the core issue.  "Otherwise, it is a wastage of time," he said.

While saying this, Salahuddin, who heads Hizbul Mujahideen, also said "gun is the only solution to achieve freedom".

He also asked hard-line Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani and other separatist leaders not to issue any statements against the 'armed struggle'.


Image: An anti-India protest in Srinagar
Photographs: Umar Ganie
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'Unfortunate that Hurriyat is divided'

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On senior Hurriyat leader Abdul Gani Bhat's recent statement that Mirwaiz Moulvi Farooq and Abdul Gani Lone, were killed "by our own people", he said, "Those who killed innocents should be brought to public court, but this is not the appropriate time to touch on these issues as it may harm the movement."

Regretting the failed attempts in getting the two Hurriyat factions united, he said, "It is unfortunate that Hurriyat is divided. We cannot reach our goal separately, we have to get united."


Image: Military vehicles patrol the streets of Srinagar
Photographs: Umar Ganie
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