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By Our Special Correspondent
SRINAGAR APRIL 4. The Hurriyat Conference today said that it was not joining any electoral process in Jammu and Kashmir which was aimed at forming a Government. Castigating the ruling National Conference (NC) for letting loose a "reign of terror'' against its leaders, the Hurriyat chairman, Abdul Gani Bhat, told a news conference here, "We are not participating in any elections to the Assembly. We have said it in the past and we repeat it today."
Elections, he said "are not the answer to our questions put to the international community about fulfilling our promises made at different international fora. We have not reviewed or reversed our 1996 decision not to participate in elections". Prof. Bhat said that the Hurriyat Conference, at the same time, did not want to re-install a particular party as making of governments which are a "surrogate to Delhi do not make any difference to us".
He denied that a four-member team of lawyers, including two members of the constituents of the Hurriyat had gone to Pakistan with a mandate to discuss the issue of elections. "As far as I know, they have gone to attend a lawyer's conference. We will come to know only after their return if it is otherwise and if there is an act of indiscipline, action will follow,'' he said.
Coming down heavily on the Farooq Government, Prof. Bhat said "they should keep it in mind that yesterday's Presidents (referring to Milosovich) are today's war criminals''. Expressing concern over the treatment meted out to the senior leader, Mohammad Yasin Malik, in police custody and the attack on Abdul Gani Lone by a Shiv Sena leader, he said ''we are the members of a self- respecting community engaged in legitimate movement''. We are being subjected to torture at home, in custody and in jail. "We bear which is unmistakably unbearable and we understand which is unquestionably understandable'' he said adding, "torture will aggravate the situation''. Stating that this treatment was unacceptable to Kashmiris, he said "We can also turn the tables, but we proceed with a deeper sense of responsibility with a view to ensuring the final settlement of the Kashmir issue''.
Elections in September?
Putting all speculations about early elections in the State at rest, the Chief Minister, Farooq Abdullah, today said elections would be held in September or early October. He also ruled out the dissolution of the State Assembly before the polls.
Making the announcement in Jammu, Dr. Abdullah said, "We are not in a hurry to go to the polls... We have got the mandate till October and we will continue to be in office till that time''. The people would be busy with crops now and the monsoon would follow. So the elections would be held as scheduled, he said.
Dismissing the demand for imposition of President's rule before holding the elections, he said "this is not going to happen''. He criticised the People's Democratic Party chief, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, for making such a demand.
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