Srinagar: A five-member team constituted by a representative body of Kashmir’s Panchayat members in the wake of killings of some village heads by suspected militants, on Wednesday called on Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani and JKLF chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik to seek their suggestions on mass resignation.
Sources said the team of Jammu and Kashmir Panch Sarpanch Association (JKPSA) while seeking suggestions from both the leaders told them that they are apolitical and support the “freedom movement” like any other Kashmiri.
They said the Panchayat members also quoted the statement of United Jihad Council chairman and Hizbul Mujahideen supremo Syed Salahuddin in which he had said that Panchayat elections are for local issues and have nothing to do with the Kashmir dispute.
“Salahuddin Sahab’s statement encouraged us to contest Panchayat elections,” the JKPSA leaders told Geelani.
JKPSA’s general secretary Khursheed Malik said the meetings with both the leaders were held in a very cordial atmosphere. “We cleared our stand on Kashmir issue before both of them. They were humble enough to listen to us and give us some good suggestions,” he said.
Geelani had on Monday labelled Panchayat members as ‘police informers’ and asked them to resign en-masse. He, however, opposed killing of Panchayat members and termed their killings as ‘un-Islamic’.
“Geelani Sahab told us that India is strengthening its occupation in Kashmir through elections—be it Parliamentary, Assembly or Panchayat elections,” Malik said.
“We don’t doubt your intentions. You might be the sympathizers of Kashmir moment. You might have contested elections with good intentions, but India is exploiting you at international level by describing the Panchayat elections as a referendum. So you are unintentionally harming the cause,” Malik quoted Geelani as telling them.
He said that Geelani also told them that he will not force the Panchayat members to resign. “We are not forcing you to resign. The decision to continue or quit lies with you only. Nobody can force you. But you should see if your activities are not damaging the cause for which over one lakh people laid down their lives,” Malik further quoted Geelani as telling them.
The delegation let called on JKLF chairman Yasin Malik at the party’s headquarters at Maisuma here.
“India is trying to divide Kashmiris to succeed in its designs. India is trying to pitch Kashmiri against Kashmiri. Nobody can force you to resign but it is a conflict zone and you should not let yourselves to be the soft targets,” the JKPSA general secretary quoted Malik as telling them.
Meanwhile, Geelani said that he reminded the Panchayat delegation of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s speech soon after the conclusion of Panchayat elections in J&K.
“I reminded them that Manmohan Singh had said from the Red Fort that those who voted in Panchayat elections have actually voted for India. They have accepted Indian constitution and are with us,” Geelani told a local news agency. “We had reports that some Panchayat members are working for police and we conveyed to them this as well.”
According to a JKLF spokesman, Malik told the Panchayat delegation that before taking a final decision “they should bear in mind that that these kind of important decisions should be durable, consistent, irrevocable and strong and hence needs thorough deliberations and consultations.”
“(Malik) told Panchs and Sarpanchs that they should first collectively take a decision of their own and then consult the resistance leadership in this regard,” the JKLF spokesman added.