‘Tickets booked; will go before Gabbar Singh and say, arrest us, too’
SRINAGAR: In a hurriedly called press conference at the lawns of Srinagar’s historic Jamia Masjid on Wednesday, resistance leaders Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik announced that they will go to Delhi on Saturday and give themselves up for arrest before the National Investigation Agency (NIA). They will do this, they said, to bring an end to the spree of NIA raids and arrests in the Valley.
Speaking on behalf of the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), of which Syed Ali Geelani is the third leader, Farooq and Malik said that the NIA has been trying to malign the cause of freedom for which the nation of Kashmir has been fighting for decades.
“We have decided to go to Delhi on Saturday and tell the NIA people at their headquarters to arrest us. We have booked the tickets already. This move will be against the frequent uncalled-for raids and arrests of people. We are not fearful of anything. Our voluntary arrest is to prevent the NIA from continuing with its raids and arrests. Otherwise (if they don’t arrest us), NIA will have to face protests from every nook and corner (of Kashmir),” said Malik.
He added, “NIA is acting like Gabbar Singh (notorious villain of Hindi movie ‘Sholay’) to terrify us. Now we go before this Gabbar and say, arrest us, too.”
Malik and Mirwaiz had managed to give the slip to police to reach Jamia. The ailing Syed Ali Geelani could not. He addressed the people via telephone.
“Seventy years of people’s movement for right to self-determination has been nourished by the blood and supreme sacrifices of life and honour of lakhs of people, and now our younger generation, keenly conscious of this, is also struggling for this fundamental right. Like every political movement of this nature, it is vibrant and dynamic, constantly adapting to the changing times with the values of justice and right to sovereignty at its core. As long as these values are dear to us we can never be defeated,” Geelani said.
“Unless the (Kashmir) dispute is resolved in accordance with the wishes and aspirations of the people of J&K, our just struggle will continue,” he added.
Malik said he and Mirwaiz had come to the mosque in the early hours of the morning, held a meeting, and then called for a press conference.
“Through Indian prime-time news channels, the Indian state has been trying to change the freedom narrative, to distance people from the resistance movement. The state has been continuing its attack through such means as a Sainik colony, Pandit colony, and NIA arrests. Now they have intervened through the judiciary to try change the demography of this Muslim-majority region. Against these attacks, we will present ourselves. We will give our lives but won’t compromise,” Mirwaiz said.
“Govt of India is following a policy of coercion, defamation, and intimidation in Kashmir, as it does not want to address the actual issue. It wants to change the narrative through diversionary tactics and propaganda to malign the leadership. Vicious and consistent propaganda through media, especially electronic and social, is being carried out each day. Media trials are conducted on prime-time television and the Kashmiri movement is ridiculed, its leadership abused, and Kashmiris humiliated. People of India are being fed lies and propaganda. Intimidation and harassment of our family members, associates, friends, acquaintances, party cadres, organisations associated with us, of any and everyone they can lay their hands on, is being done through the sending of so-called notices of NIA,” Mirwaiz said.