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2016-05-03 05:14:07

Fight us on political turf, caging us won’t do: Mirwaiz tells Govt

Accusing the present PDP-BJP government of “touching new heights of oppression” in Kashmir, the Chairman of Hurriyat Conference (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Monday dared the ruling dispensation to fight the pro-freedom camp on political turf than caging pro-freedom leaders in homes and jails.
Mirwaiz also reminded J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti of her 2010 street protests wherein she would demand “revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act” and call for “end to atrocities.”
Addressing media-persons at the Hurriyat’s Rajbagh headquarters here, Mirwaiz said in 1990s, the then government would often put pro-freedom leadership behind bars to muzzle the genuine dissent. 
“But the present regime seems to have crossed all limits on this front. We are not allowed to offer Friday prayers, take part in religious gatherings, and recently we were barred from addressing a Seerat conference as well,” he said. “The height of oppression is we were recently not allowed to offer funeral in absentia for JKLF founder Amanullah Khan. Our grand mosque (Jamia Masjid) remains closed on Fridays due to curbs while we are being confined to our homes.”  
He said Jamia Masjid is a historic institution which has always been used to “oppose oppression.”
He said by keeping pro-freedom leaders including Hurriyat (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani, JKLF chief Muhammad Yasin Malik, other leaders like Shabir Ahmed Shah under detention, “the present dispensation has actually conceded defeat.” 
“On most Fridays, I also remain under house arrest. Let the present regime fight us on the political turf. Caging us won’t do as world struggles have proved that muzzling genuine voices through military might have failed,” said the Hurriyat (M) chairman, who was flanked by senior party leader Prof Abdul Gani Bhat.
Mirwaiz said pro-freedom activists are being asked to get registered with police and “visit their respective police stations every week.”  
“In some police stations, photographs of pro-freedom activists have been kept alongside those of criminals,” Mirwaiz said. “This process is going on at Tehsil and district-headquarter levels across Kashmir.”
Reminding Mehbooba Mufti of her streets protests in 2010, Mirwaiz said: “I want to ask the J&K Chief Minister what happened to her demands of revocation of AFSPA and calls for stopping atrocities.”  
Mirwaiz also displayed photographs of Chief Minister wherein she is seeking revocation of AFSPA and calling for “stopping atrocities” during the protests of 2010. 
“These people talk in one language while they happen to be in opposition and change colours soon after they grab power,” he said.
Mirwaiz said Mehbooba is projecting the situation “as if all is well in Kashmir.”  
“She is inviting tourists to visit Kashmir to give an impression that Kashmir is peaceful. But we want to tell people of India that Kashmir is not normal,” he said. 
He said the Hurriyat believes in its policy that Kashmir is a political issue which needs a political solution. “The Hurriyat continues to believe that Kashmir is not a regional, economic or a border issue, but purely a political issue,” he said.  
He said he wants to ask the Chief Minister as to what happened to “battle of ideas rant of her late father Mufti Muhammad Sayeed.”  “What happened to healing touch policy,” Mirwaiz said. “It’s because of anti-people policies of the government that our young boys are picking up arms again.”
He said “it seems RSS is actually ruling J&K and slowly implementing pro-Hindutva agenda in Kashmir.”
“Some institutions are operating in Kashmir at the best of Ministry of Home Affairs to create sectarian divide among people to dilute their attention from basic issue,” Mirwaiz said.
To a query whether there can be a joint strategy by separatists in countering curbs and house detentions, Mirwaiz said:  “Hurriyat is open for discussions and I believe there is a need for joint strategy to counter continued detention of pro-freedom leaders. We had initiated a process to have an alternative to strikes, but when civilians are killed by trigger-happy forces, we are bound to call strikes. In case the government doesn’t stop imposing restrictions and keeping us under house arrest, we will be forced to ask people to take to the streets.”
 
‘CAN MAKE A NEW BEGINNING’
Reacting to statement made by junior Minister of External Affairs that there was no bar on meetings of Kashmiri separatist leaders with representatives of any country in India, Mirwaiz Umar welcomed this development and said “it is good that New Delhi has realized that no red lines can be drawn on meeting people.”
“It’s a good sign. Finally, New Delhi seems to have realized that there can be no lines drawn for meeting people. We reiterate that Kashmir is purely a political issue and can’t be linked with terror attacks like Pathankot which cast a shadow on dialogue,” Mirwaiz said. 
However, he said “pro-freedom leadership of Kashmir isn’t any third party but primary party to the dispute.” 
He said Hurriyat will think on starting a new beginning “if there is again a similar approach akin to that of 2006-2007.”
“If the present regime treads the path of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, we will surely think on a new beginning,” he said.
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