Kashmir has “achieved moral victory” over Government of India during the past 109 days of anti-India uprising and it is high time that India “shows the real picture” of Kashmir to its own society and initiate meaningful steps towards the resolution of Kashmir issue, the Chairman of Hurriyat Conference (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Tuesday.
Addressing media at his residence after meeting a delegation headed by former Union Minister and BJP leader, Yashwant Sinha, the Mirwaiz said he apprised the guests about the prevailing situation in Kashmir.
“I was released yesterday night and in the morning I got information that the delegation is coming. I discussed the matter with Syed Ali Geelani on telephone and we decided to apprise the visiting members about the present situation in Kashmir,” Mirwaiz said. “The delegation has already made it clear that it is purely non-political, and not supported by the Government of India. Yashwant Sinha has himself said he is currently not an active member of BJP.”
On being asked whether he thinks the delegation is part of Track-II diplomacy initiated by New Delhi to solve the Kashmir crisis, Mirwaiz said “even if they are linked to Track-II or Track-III, their visit makes it a victory of people. It is the acknowledgement of the fact that voice of Kashmir is being heard.”
Mirwaiz said there is likelihood that he was released after three months “in anticipation of the arrival of the delegation.”
The other members of the delegation included former Chief Information Commissioner of India, Wajahat Habibullah, former Air Vice Marshal Kapil Kak, veteran journalist Bharat Bhushan and Executive Director of the Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation, Sushobha Barve.
He said no resistance leader is against meaningful talks. “Government of India should accept Kashmir as a dispute and initiate tripartite talks on its resolution,” he said. “As of now they are not even banning pellet guns.”
Mirwaiz said the Government of India “wants to dilute” the perspective of Kashmiris’ right to self-determination by calling it names like “Pakistan-sponsored agitation, law and order situation, economic problem etc.” “But the reality which they refuse to acknowledge is that Kashmir is a political problem and it needs a resolution either by implementing the UN resolutions or initiating dialogue with Pakistan and Kashmiris,” he said.
On visit of delegations that have failed to prove effective previously, Mirwaiz said “we asked the visitors what they have done after the last delegation came, and their answer was in negative.”
“I told them that the delegations only come when there is a problem and when there is some semblance of normalcy, the government uses military to control everything. There is no forward movement in between,” he said.
He said New Delhi is “suffering from arrogance of power” and “sees military as a solution to everything.”
“This movement is of public and if they want some middle ground, then they must give relief to public by stopping atrocities on them,” he said.
Paying tributes to people who were killed by forces during the current uprising, Mirwaiz said: “We will never forget their sacrifices. Our biggest asset are our youth and it is they who sacrificed their eyesight, livelihood, education and their lives for the nation.”
On New Delhi’s allegations of uprising being sponsored from across the border, Mirwaiz said “Government of India is distorting the facts.”
“Who will sacrifice eyes for a few rupees? This movement is completely indigenous and started by people, sustained by people and taken forward by them,” he said. “And let me assure people that the entire resistance leadership is also united at this juncture.”
Mirwaiz said the 2016 uprising will be recorded in history as a “landmark for the freedom movement.”
“India used extreme form of brute force on people. They killed people, blinded youth, destroyed property, arrested thousands and yet the flame of freedom has not died down. Nowhere else in the world can we see people sustaining the movement for such a long time,” said Mirwaiz. “There is a thirst of freedom among people. And in 2016 we saw the fifth generation Kashmiris taking forward the movement.”
Asked whether resistance leadership will review ‘hartals’ as a mode of protest and see whether it has been effective, Mirwaiz said: “Let them stop arrests, release people from jails, lift curbs, allow resistance leadership to meet people. We will talk to every section of society and come out with an answer with complete consensus.”
Mirwaiz came down heavily on pro-India parties. “These collaborators be it NC or PDP have proven with their conduct that they can do anything for the sake of power.”
He said from 8th July to 25 August this year, he was under strict house arrest and from 26th August to 24th October, he was detained at Cheshmashahi sub-jail without any charges.
“It was a solitary confinement and I was not allowed to meet anybody,” he said. “It was part of a specific plan to take me away from my own people and other leaders.”
Mirwaiz said during the past 100 days, Kashmiris have been deprived of all kinds of rights including religious. “For the last 15 Fridays, there has been no Friday prayers at the biggest mosque of Kashmir—the Jamia Masjid in Nowhatta Srinagar. This Friday we are going to pray at the Jamia Masjid, come what may. Even if there is curfew we will break it but ensure Nimaz is offered there,” he said.
While recalling his days of detention, Mirwaiz said his only mode of contact with the outside world was newspapers.
“I would be heartbroken with stories about youth getting killed, blinded and maimed. But the only thing that kept me going was their determination and the fighting spirit of people.”
He said during his detention, nobody approached him for talks and he was not allowed to have any visitors.
On being asked about continued closure of educational institutions, Mirwaiz said they should first ensure safety of lives of students and education will follow automatically.