Islamabad, Nov 9: Militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen Friday said the recent statement of United Jihad Council (UJC) chief Syed Salah-ud-Din purportedly threatening Panchayat representatives in Jammu and Kashmir "was taken out of context by media."
"UJC chairman's proclamation regarding Panchayat issue was taken out of context by a section of media," Hizb spokesman Saleem Hashmi said in a statement. He said that Salah-ud-Din would explain his statement on a proper time.
Pertinently, New Delhi based news magazine Tehelka recently quoted Salah-ud-Din having said that "Panchs and Sarpanchs were exploited by Government of India to project Kashmir as pro-India, and as such, they would continue to be targeted." "No matter how much the government tries to secure them, they will still be attacked. This is why we call on them to resign from their posts and not allow themselves to be used to undermine the liberation movement in Kashmir,"
Salah-ud-Din had reportedly said.
At least five Panchayat members have been killed and many other wounded by unknown gunmen in Kashmir since Panchayat polls were held in the state in 2011, after more than three decades.
The killings forced hundreds of Panchs and Sarpanchs to resign from their positions. They have been accusing government of neglecting their security concerns.
Senior PDP leader and former Deputy Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Muzaffar Hussain Baig had termed the reported threat of Syed Salah-ud-Din to Panchayat representatives as "illogical."
Hashmi, in his statement Friday, without naming Baig asked pro-India politicians to introspect and "try to find out how they have distorted historical as well as ground realities regarding Kashmir."
Terming pro-India politicians as henchmen of New Delhi, Hizb spokesman said that by dishing out such pronouncements these politicians were actually trying to hide their misdeeds. He, however, maintained that it was an "undeniable fact that these politicians, serving the Indian interests in the region, were misusing this institution (Panchayat) and using it as an instrument to stay in power."
He said during electioneering, pro-India politicians say that the elections have no bearing whatsoever on the final settlement of Kashmir issue but after getting elected they ironically change their stance and try to project polls as a substitute to Kashmiris' right to self-determination. The spokesman said India uses these politicians as a tool to strengthen its control on the territory besides hoodwinking the world community.
Kashmiris, he said, have offered unprecedented sacrifices to achieve their goal but those sitting in the lap of New Delhi were incognizant of realistic approach.
Terming Syed Salah-ud-Din as symbol of ongoing struggle, the spokesman said that as a front leader, it is the prime responsibility of the UJC chief to highlight issues and to propose solution to the problems, which he said were logical and in accordance with the ground realities.