Moderate Lone acknowledges ultras

Separatist-turned-mainstream politician and chairman of Peoples’ Conference Sajjad Gani Lone said on Sunday that the role of militants in the Kashmir movement cannot be undermined or ignored.

In an interview with a local news agency, Lone said the militants have got their own space in Kashmir and their role is hard to ignore or overlook.

“Militants are the people who endanger their lives for a cause. I believe they have their role in the movement and particularly the ones who belong to this land,” he said.
However, he was quick to add that the people here want negotiated settlement of the Kashmir dispute.

“I can’t comment on whether the gun can resolve Kashmir or not but I firmly believe that the people of Kashmir want a negotiated settlement,” Lone, who unsuccessfully contested the 2009 Parliamentary election from the Baramulla-Kupwara constituency, said.

He also ridiculed hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Geelani’s ideology terming it unrealistic.
He advocated giving space to the moderate Hurriyat faction and pro-independence Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front as, according to him, the policy of these parties is deliverable on ground.

“Geelani believes that the people of Kashmir are super humans who will never get tired and never become hungry but it is not true,” he said.

Lone, son of slain moderate Hurriyat leader Abdul Gani Lone also said that people who vote cannot be termed traitors.

“They vote so that their day-to-day issues get resolved. They have genuine problems but we throw them in the lap of corrupt politicians by issuing the boycott calls,” he said.

He advised people to participate in the election process as “boycott only benefits corrupt people.”  Lone claimed that the upcoming Assembly elections will eradicate big names from the political map of the state and no party will be able to win more than 18 seats.

About the NOTA option recently introduced by the Election Commission, Lone said, “I believe it is a good option and also an interesting one, provided the votes that are rejected are taken into consideration.”

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