Hizbul: Kashmiri Militants United Against Indian Cease-Fire
Kashmiri militant chief Syed Salahuddin on Friday said the separatist movement was united against New Delhi's cease-fire offer and promised attacks against Indian security forces during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
The Hizbul Mujahideen leader said India's unprecedented offer was a "mockery" of efforts to end the 11-year Muslim separatist insurgency, unless it was backed by tripartite talks including Pakistan.
"Definitely there are no differences among the mujahideen groups because yesterday a joint session of the United Jihad Council (a separatist umbrella group) rejected this offer," he said.
He said no cease-fire would be meaningful unless India also cut its troop numbers in Kashmir back to pre-1989 levels, ended all operations against civilians and released militants from prison.
"This cease-fire offer is just a deception. It is a mockery," he said at a press conference in the southern port city of Karachi.
"Through this cease-fire India is buying time to track down mujahideen hideouts and strengthen its intelligence network.
"What we need is a cease-fire, which is meaningful. The Kashmir conflict will ultimately be resolved according to the wishes and the will of the people of Kashmir."
Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee announced the Ramadan cease-fire on Sunday but has faced strong opposition from his hardline Hindu allies in the ruling coalition.
On Thursday he said the initiative had sparked a debate within the separatist movement fighting against Indian rule in the Muslim dominated state, which has been divided between India and Pakistan since 1947.
"There are differences among them. They are discussing this and we like it," he said.
He said security would be tightened in Kashmir during Ramadan, due to start around the end of this month.
India and Pakistan have fought three wars over the Himalayan state and the Muslim insurgency in Indian-controlled Kashmir has claimed more than 30,000 lives since it began in 1989.
Pakistan has called Vajpayee's offer a "tactical move" in India's larger strategy to impose a military solution in Kashmir.
The Hizbul Mujahidden, the largest separatist outfit in Kashmir, withdrew a cease-fire in August after India refused to sit at the negotiating table with Pakistan.
New Delhi blames Islamabad for fomenting "terrorism" in Kashmir, a charge Pakistan denies -- KARACHI (AFP)
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