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August 6, 2000
Hizb accuses army of ceasefire violations
Mukhtar Ahmad and Onkar Singh in Srinagar
Without fixing a fresh date, the Hizbul Mujahideen said on Sunday that talks with the government to decide the modalities of the ceasefire in Jammu & Kashmir would continue.
In a statement, a spokesman of the extremist organisation confirmed that no meeting of Hizb commanders and government representatives had taken place in Srinagar on Saturday.
"Our commanders had to return to the field for an on-the-spot assessment of the situation," said the statement. "That is why they could not return on August 5 for the meeting."
The Hizb has alleged ceasefire violations by the security forces at several places in the state. It accused the army of killing one of its members, Shabir Ahmad alias Jaanbaz, at Arnas in Udhampur district of Jammu division.
"At other places in the valley, the army is forcing our cadres to surrender and harassing the relatives of militants belonging to our outfit," the statement said. "So the commanders had to return to the field."
The Hizb, however, said the talks would continue next week. But no date has been set.
In the statement Hizb chief spokesman Masood appealed once again to the other extremist outfits to support the ceasefire for a resolution of the Kashmir problem and "deny the government an escape route from talks".
Meanwhile, in an exclusive interview with rediff.com, the chief of the People's Political Front and Hizb intermediary Fazal Haq Qureshi said his role in the talks was over.
"My role as an intermediary ended on the day the very first round of talks was held at the Nehru Guest House," he said. "It is now for the Hizbul Mujahideen and the government to finalise the modalities of the ceasefire."
"Don't think the Hizbul Mujaheedin has surrendered," Qureshi said, "but wisdom has dawned on the outfit for a peaceful solution to the problem."
The PPF chief said the Hizb was not pressing for Pakistan's inclusion in the talks at this stage. "Pakistan can be included later," he said.
But he added that Pakistan is a party to the dispute and the problem can only be solved through tripartite talks.
Qureshi hoped, however, that Hizb chief Syed Salah-ud-Din would extend his August 8 deadline to press for tripartite talks. "I appeal to the HM chief to extend the deadline" he said. "The dialogue must continue as I feel the Government of India is serious this time."
Haq said he would soon submit a report on the talks to the All-Parties Hurriyat Conference. "The scope of the HM-government dialogue will be further widened," he said.
The APHC, of which the PPF is a constituent, has already criticised Qureshi for his role in facilitating the dialogue.
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