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Hurriyat seals dummy cracks

Srinagar, Sept. 2: The separatist All Parties Hurriyat Conference finally managed to avoid a split in its ranks today with its decision that the People’s Conference shall continue as a constituent of the separatist conglomerate.

The Hurriyat decided “to accept the clarification” put forth by People’s Conference representative Pir Hafizullah Makhdumi after a marathon two-day meeting of its general council, working committee and the executive committee.

In a statement released here today, the Hurriyat accepted the People’s Conference explanation that “the four, dummy candidates who had filed nomination papers for the forthcoming state Assembly elections from north Kashmir Kupwara district had already been expelled from the People’s Conference and that the People’s Conference was constitution bound to support the APHC decision not to participate in the elections”.

The Hurriyat also called upon the People’s Conference leadership to actively campaign against the four Kupwara candidates so that they “are not able to exploit the sacrifices and martyrdom” of the slain People’s Conference leader, Abdul Gani Lone, who was killed here on May 21, 2002.

An earlier Hurriyat statement gave rise to the impression that the People’s Conference had been suspended from the separatist conglomerate as per the decision taken at the meeting yesterday.

The Hurriyat swung into action and made clarifications to their earlier statement after most news agencies and electronic channels started running the suspension story.

In a separate development, state industry minister Shiekh Mustaffa Kamal, the younger brother of chief minister Farooq Abdullah, escaped unhurt in a militant ambush at Shiekhpora near Tangmarg in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district.

Elsewhere, militants in the Kashmir Valley killed two prominent ruling National Conference activists today and seriously wounded another.

Police said militants ambushed the heavily escorted motorcade of the industry minister while he was on way to a village to address an election meeting.

The militants opened fire from automatics on the motorcade of the minister, who was rescued by his security guards and escorted to safety.

The area was later searched. One civilian bystander who received injury was shifted to a hospital. Militants abducted and beheaded a block president of the ruling party identified as Ghulam Hassan late last night. Police said the militants forced their entry into Hassan’s house, abducted him and later decapitated him on the outskirts of the village.

No Atal-Pervez meet

Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee will not meet Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf during a visit to the US by both leaders this month, foreign ministry sources said today.

“No, not to the best of my knowledge,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Nirupama Rao told when asked if a meeting between Vajpayee and Musharraf was on the cards during their visits. Vajpayee and Musharraf are due to address the UN General Assembly in New York and to meet President George W. Bush.

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