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JKLF says farewell to arms, says Yasin

Malik says JKLF's motive is to inspire youth to use politics not guns to solve the Kashmir issue, reports Arun Joshi.

india Updated: Nov 27, 2006 16:10 IST
Arun Joshi

Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik has declared that his opening of office in downtown Srinagar on Sunday was part of his plans to "motivate youth for resistance through politics rather than guns."

He says his inspiration in enrolling the youth of Kashmir for political resistance developing for ourcause was Edward Said, a Palestinian–American literary theorist and an outspoken advocate of Palestinian cause.Said was a strong champion of the cause of Palestinians.

Yasin Malik’s opening of office in densely populatedBohri Kadal in downtown Srinagar, regarded asastronghold of the Mirwaiz family, triggered violent protests.

"JKLF is not a banned group. It has ceased to be a terrorist group. Now we are a political movement and the opening of office should be read in the context of our larger mission,” Malik told Hindustan Times over phone afterhaving spent the night in his new office in Bohri Kadal.

Yasin Malik,who was among the first group of terrorists to launch secessionist violence in Kashmir in late 1980s, had renouncedviolence and use of guns in May 1994.

Since then he claims to be following the Gandhian ways. Regarding Sunday's clashes, he said that "some elements frustrated by the response ourrally received,resorted to mischief of disrupting it, which people foiled."

Though Yasin Malik did not identify the "frustrated elements”, the target figure was clear: All Parties Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.

Mirwaizwhose family has had complete sway overthe residents in the area, however, denied that his supporters clashed with the JKLF activists.He laughed away over the charge of "frustration", as if dismissing the allegation as inconsequential.

“Why should we object to anyone opening any office anywhere. What I am told is that people were furious over certain things, they protested or clashed,” he told HT over phone.

Yasin Maliksaid that JKLF always had a base in the area. He referred to the history of “Sher-Bakra” feud of the times when National Conference founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah was alive, and also during the times of Farooq Abdullah. NC activists were known as Sher or lion and that of the Mirwaiz family as bakra orgoat.

He saidthere were 70 per cent of NCsupporters and rest of 30 per cent were “bakra”. When terrorism started,the “NC supporters joined JKLF”. “So we have always been there in a huge majority,” JKLF chairman claimed.

This claim was again laughed away. A colleague of Mirwaiz said that “Yasin is putting the strength other way round. We were 70 per cent, NC 30 per cent.”

This“Sher-Bakra feud” was brought to an end on the eve of the 1983 Assembly elections after Farooq Abdullah and Mirwaiz Moulvi Mohammad Farooq (APHC chairman’s father) entered into an alliance for the sake of “Muslim unity”. Their accord came to be known as “Double Farooq” accord.

Yasin Malik, when asked whether his rally and entering what is known as “pro-Pakistan bastion in Srinagar”were his rebuff to hardline leaderSyed Ali Shah Geelani, as some keen political analysts have noted, he said, “all the surveys done so far,whether by BBC, AFP, Reuters andtwo reputed Indian magazines - India Today and Outlook, and Pakistani magazine Newsline - all have said one thing: 85 per cent of people of Kashmiris supportindependence.”

“If we are talking about wishes of the people, why should we shy away from admitting the reality,” Malik said.

First Published: Nov 27, 2006 14:37 IST