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Wednesday, Oct 16, 2019

Terrorist tag on Salahuddin won’t affect people’s struggle in Kashmir: Separatists

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq says militancy is one of the facets of the people’s struggle and that the Hurriyat is fighting peacefully for their rights in the state.

india Updated: Jun 27, 2017 19:09 IST
Ashiq Hussain
Ashiq Hussain
Srinagar, Hindustan Times
Kashmiri protestors clash with army forces after Eid prayers in Srinagar on Monday.
Kashmiri protestors clash with army forces after Eid prayers in Srinagar on Monday.(AFP File)

Separatist leaders in Jammu and Kashmir said on Tuesday the US designation of Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin as a global terrorist will not impact the “people’s struggle” for the right to self-determination in Kashmir and the “centrality of the Kashmir dispute”.

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the chairperson of the moderate faction of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, said militancy was one of the facets of the people’s struggle and that the Hurriyat was fighting peacefully for their rights in the state.

“And people of the state have been striving for their right to self-determination, not today only but since 1947. Militancy or no militancy, the fact remains that we will continue to fight politically and peacefully for our rights,” he said.

The US state department on Monday designated Hizbul Mujahideen’s chief commander Salahuddin as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) and imposed sanctions on him. Salahuddin is also the chief of the United Jihad Council (UJC), an umbrella body of militant organisations fighting against the Indian state in Kashmir.

The announcement by the United States came hours before Prime Minister Narendra Modi met US president Donald Trump on Monday.

Mirwaiz said Salahuddin’s designation won’t affect the “centrality of Kashmir dispute which has been recognised by United Nations (UN)”. “The dispute remains there only. So, world powers can’t ignore this reality as far as the bigger picture is concerned,” Mirwaiz added.

Hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Geelani did not comment on the issue.

Another separatist and chairperson of Salvation Movement, Zafar Akbar Bhat, said Salahuddin or any other Kashmiri pursuing his or her right to self-determination was not a terrorist.

“(They) are not terrorists because this right is guaranteed by UN and Indian leadership including its first PM late Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru has pledged that people will be asked to express their aspiration about the political destiny of state,” Bhat said in a statement.

Bhat said in 2000 during a brief span of ceasefire between armed wing of the Hizbul and Indian forces, “state department of USA and government of India recognized HM and its supreme Commander Syed Salahuddin as party to dispute when its operational commander late Abdul Majid Dar announced unilateral ceasefire and initiated dialogue with the then Home secretary of India Mr Kamal Pandey at Nehru guest house Srinagar”.

“How can America or any country contrary to the fact that it is an indigenous movement and its brave hearts have always craved for its peaceful resolution, declare him a terrorist?” Bhat asked.

He said that the US needs to rethink and send a fact-finding mission to Kashmir to ascertain the “appalling situation in disputed territory”.

The US state department has said as a senior leader of Hizbul Mujahideen Salahuddin, also known as Syed Mohammed Yusuf Shah, vowed to block any peaceful resolution to the Kashmir conflict, threatened to train more Kashmiri suicide bombers, and vowed to turn the Kashmir valley “into a graveyard for Indian forces”.

It said in a notification after Salahuddin’s designation that he has committed, or poses a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism.

Designations of terrorist individuals and groups expose and isolate organisations and individuals, and result in denial of access to the US financial system. Moreover, designations can assist or complement the law enforcement actions of other nations, it added.

First Published: Jun 27, 2017 19:08 IST

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