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September 12, 2000
Salahuddin holds out olive branch and gun
Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar
Towing his oft-repeated line, Hizbul Mujahideen supreme commander Syed Salahuddin said that he was ready to participate in elections provided they were monitored by an international agency. At the same time he threatened his group would "intensify operations" if the peace process failed to yield desired results.
In an interview to a local news agency, he said his outfit was ready for any solution on Kashmir outside the Indian Constitution. "We are even ready to contest elections if they are monitored by the international community."
He said, "We are ready for reaching an agreement with the Government of India outside the Constitution or continue the armed struggle with added vehemence, including intensification of operations in other parts of India."
The supreme commander said that the July cease-fire by his outfit "exposed Indian propaganda that Kashmiri militants were not interested in a peaceful resolution of the dispute".
He said that his outfit decided to launch a political movement alongside militant activities as it saw nothing tangible emerging even after the sacrifice of 80,000 lives. He criticised the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, saying "the separatist conglomerate had failed to take the movement to its logical conclusion".
"Given its international recognition the APHC has not done much for the movement."
He rejected any move to announce a cease-fire and said, "We have done what we had to do."
He added, "Now the Indian government should take the initiative if it is interested in a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute."
"Let them take the initiative and see our response."
He, however, made it clear that "we will participate in talks which are only held outside the Indian Constitution."
He added, "The Hizb will on one hand intensify militant activities while on the other it will continue to make efforts for a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute."
He said he was in constant touch with the operations outfit chief Abdul Majeed Dar, who he said "was directing the outfit's operations in Kashmir as per my directions."
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