Srinagar: India has “virtually declared a war against the people of Kashmir” that left no space and scope for peaceful protests.
This was stated by All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq while delivering a key note address, through a recorded video, to a two-day Conference held in Harvard University Boston during a session titled “Revisiting The Kashmir Issue”. The event was organised by Pakistan Harvard Forum.
“Kashmir is a classic case of occupation. All forms of repression are in place,” read the text of Mirwaiz’s speech released by APHC in Srinagar. “Humiliation and harassment at the hands of the forces is an everyday occurrence in the life of an ordinary Kashmiri. There is no space and scope for peaceful means of resistance or protests”.
Decrying the role of media in Kashmir conflict, Mirwaiz said that Indian media “has become an extension of state and its propaganda machinery”. He also castigated the government for snapping communication links with outside world, terming them as acts aimed to “block flow of information”.
Drawing a sketch of the events in 2016, Mirwaiz said that the state crushed Kashmiri resistance with “unprecedented brutality” which resulted in the killing of “120 civilians, mostly children and teenagers”. He said, “Over 17,000 injured with many losing their limbs, over a thousand people blinded and more than 20 thousand youth arrested. The repression continues unabated… arbitrary arrests, detention and torture of youth is part of the state policy to tame people”.
The situation, he said, was “a matter of a grave concern and worry for us as we are losing our future generations”. On the day of polling day last week, Mirwaiz said that government forces shot dead eight youth and hundreds injured as young men and women “came out on the streets to resist”. He said that 7% voting is a clear “rejection of Indian occupation and political systems”, which deflates Indian Government’s propaganda that elections were “an expression of people’s opinion in its favour”.
Government of India, Mirwaiz Said, attempts to delegitimize “our long term struggle – which began even before India’s struggle for freedom – by equating it with terrorism. 9/11 provided the Indian state an excuse to put the Kashmir struggle under the rubric of terror. In the post 9/11 Islamophobia environment it fits well with the broader narrative. Kashmir happens to be a Muslim majority territory and India is using it as a pretext to demonize a people as terrorists and miscreants”.