Hizbul Mujahidin declares ceasefire
Hizbul Mujahidin (HM) decision to declare a three-month unilateral cease-fire from 25 July came as a surprise to the Kashmiris as well as to people in India and Pakistan. The surprise decision was made public during a press conference held by HM commander Abdul Majid Dar on 24 July. Dar made the offer, which became effective next day, with three conditions: Indian forces to stop operations against militant organizations, refrain from violating the people’s human rights and allow political parties and organizations to express their views freely.
Dar said that the HM has taken this decision in order to alleviate the suffering of the masses and to nullify the Indian veto of speaking to militant organizations except after stopping cross-border terrorism.
HM supremo, Syed Salahuddin, who lives in Pakistan since 1993, okayed his deputy’s offer next day. The Delhi bureau chief of the All-Party Hurriyet Conference, Abdul Majid
Banday, confirmed to this newspaper that Dar’s announcement is genuine but he refused to comment on it from APHC’s point of view saying that his organization will publish a statement after deliberations in
Government of India has welcomed this announcement without committing itself to enter into negotiations with HM. Some Indian media sources have claimed that Dar’s offer came after consultations with IB and RAW and that the Indian purpose is to draw a wedge between ‘Indian’ Kashmiri and ‘foreign’ militants and that India is ready to speak to the Indian Kashmiri militants only.
It is understood that the HM offer is a reflection of the Kashmiri masses disillusion with the 13-year old militancy, especially when it is clear that the continuation of violence is not going to bring the required results or settlement. Kashmiris have already suffered huge losses and ruin as a result of the on-going violence.
Some militant organizations, like Jamiatul Mujahidin and Lashkar-e Toiba have rejected HM’s offer and have reiterated their resolve to continue their struggle in J&K.
Dar in his press conference also said that HM will extend the cease-fire period if the Indian response was positive. He also said that HM is ready to enter into talks about a settlement even outside UN resolutions.
HM is the largest Kashmiri militant outfit. It appeared in 1989. The strength of its armed cadre is estimated at 3000 comprising of people from the Indian and Pakistani sectors of Kashmir. Another Kashmiri militant organization,
JKLF, had unilaterally announced cease-fire six years ago after its marginalization as a result of Indian forces and HM attacks. It invited the wrath of the pro-Pakistan HM because it called for an independent Kashmir. After JKLF
marginalization, the Indian forces turned to liquidate HM and forced its leaders including Syed Salahuddin to seek sanctuary in Pakistan.
It is believed that these developments are part of an American move to settle the Kashmiri issue by providing a kind of autonomy to the Indian Kashmir and allowing Kashmiris to move freely within the Indian and Pakistani sectors of Kashmir. Moreover, Kashmir militant outfits are under pressure to prove that they are not ‘terrorist’ since the US has placed them on this year’s list of terrorist organizations around the world.