Srinagar: Terming militarization of Kashmir including Tosmaidan as the “root cause of all problems,” the Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Wednesday said the pro-freedom grouping would continue its struggle for demilitarization of the state.
Speaking at a seminar titled ‘Military Concentration, Sham Elections, Tosmaidan lease reflection of New Delhi’s imperialist designs’ organised by the Hurriyat here, Mirwaiz said that Kashmir was “the most militarized region of the world, a fact accepted by UN, European Union, OIC, and other international bodies.” He said Kashmir’s civilization, culture, trade and economics would continue to remain insecure until the process of troop withdrawal from the region does not take place.
Mirwaiz said that since 1947 military build-up in Kashmir is going on under a planned strategy, and currently there is no village, town city, or tourist resort where army is not present. Mirwaiz said that the extent of militarization could well be understood by the fact that 12 out of 66 firing ranges of Indian army are located in Jammu and Kashmir.
Presenting statistics, Mirwaiz said that currently 71,500 acres of land in the state is under occupation of army. Likewise, he said, 1856 structures, 1526 private buildings and properties, 280 government buildings, 14 industrial units, 5 cinemas, 28 hotels and three hospitals continue to remain under army possession.
Terming demilitarization of Kashmir and Tosmaidan as the “foremost objective and demand of our resistance movement,” Mirwaiz said that “any process or dialogue would not prove result-oriented without troop withdrawal from Kashmir.”
Terming the announcement of the state government not to extend the expiring lease of Tosmaidan to army as result of pressure built by the effective campaign of the people against the lease extension, Mirwaiz said that with the cooperation of the people, Hurriyat would continue its struggle for demilitarization of Kashmir. He said Kashmiris should not forget the fact that the state government equally shares the responsibility of excessive militarization in Kashmir. He said it was due to scheming politics of state government that led to snatching of Kashmiri resources, allowed militarization of famous hill stations and tourist spots which directly led to degradation of Kashmiri environs.
“The control and authority the people of Kashmir enjoyed in 1947 over the resources of Kashmir has now been snatched from them and the resources are no more in our hands now,” he said.
Mirwaiz made it clear that all issues related to Kashmir are laced with politics. He said those elements who are trying to disassociate Tosmaidan from Kashmir politics should look at the history and get acquainted with the truth that “Indian forces have occupied the land of Kashmir.”
“Demilitarization is one of the most important objectives of the peaceful struggle of Hurriyat. Allah has blessed Kashmir with unique green environs and natural beauty and Hurriyat believes in protecting it by adopting a proper political strategy,” the Hurriyat chief said.
Out rightly rejecting elections in Kashmir, Mirwaiz said India has deployed lakhs of troops in length and breadth of Kashmir to “suppress the emotions and political aspirations of Kashmiris.” He said the activities of genuine leadership of Kashmir have been restricted, adding that such an atmosphere renders election process meaningless.
Speaking on the occasion, senior Hurriyat leader, Prof Abdul Gani Bhat said that in the presence of nuclear arms it was imperative to find the solution of issue to prevent a possible future destruction. He said that Tosmaidan was the symbol of Kashmir’s collective culture and civilization. He said along with ‘freedom struggle’, Hurriyat was committed to work towards protecting the environs of Kashmir.
Others who addressed the seminar included Javaid Ahmad Mir, Mohammad Yousuf Chapri and Syed Saleem Geelani. Hurriyat leaders Moulana Abbas Ansari, Musadiq Adil, Agha Syed Mujtaba Al Moosvi, Mr. Khaleel Ahmad Khaleel, Advocate Abdul Majid Banday, Advocate Shahid-ul-Islam, Dr GM Hubi, Abdul Manan Bukhari, Hilal Ahmad War, Chowdhary Shaheen Iqbal, Syed Bashir Andrabi, G.N. War, and Mtr. Fatima were also present at the occasion. Hakeem Rashid moderated the proceedings of the seminar.