Srinagar: Police and paramilitaries on Saturday sealed off all entry and exit routes to capital Srinagar to thwart pro-freedom leadership’s proposed arrival at the headquarters of XV Corps, the oldest and main military garrison in Kashmir that oversees the functioning of all army units deployed across the Line of Control and the hinterland in Kashmir.
The pro-freedom leadership had plans to hand over a letter to General Officer Commanding (GOC) XV Corps Lt Gen Satish Kumar Dua, asking him to leave Kashmir.
The army had asked the people not to pay heed to the call and avoid approaching the army garrisons across Kashmir.
Veteran pro-freedom leader Syed Ali Geelani was taken into custody and lodged at Humhama police post when he defied restrictions on his movement and attempted to march towards the XV Corps headquarters.
All the roads leading to the Corps headquarters were sealed and the vehicular movement towards the area was highly restricted till late in the afternoon. Prior to Geelani’s arrest, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was taken into custody by the police from his Nigeen residence. Mirwaiz has been lodged at Cheshma Shahi in a posh hut converted into sub-jail.
Before his detention, Geelani read out a letter he was supposed to handover to XV Corps commander at Badami Bagh. The letter written in English, Urdu and Hindi has been addressed to all heads of the government forces including the Indian army and paramilitaries urging them to “quit Kashmir for the benefit of their own country and the people of Jammu and Kashmir.”
Geelani said the people and armed forces of India “are our brothers as per our faith but the struggle for right to self determination would continue.”
According to a statement issued by Hurriyat (G), Geelani before before escorted to Humhama police post said that Kashmiris were not for the first time asking Indian army to leave from Jammu and Kashmir.
The people, he said, have been demanding it for the last 70 years.
“In 2009 we started the campaign of demilitarization ‘Fuji Inkhilah’ and in 2010 we intensified this campaign by a common and famous slogan ‘Go India Go Back’. Masarat Aalam is still languishing in jail for actively participating and galvanizing this campaign,” he said.
Addressing the army, he said, “Today also, very politely and humbly we request these armed forces that you failed to win our hearts for the last 70 long years, and you will never be able to do so in future as well.”
He said the people’s basic right, right to self-determination, has been promised by none other than the first Prime Minister of India, Jawahar Lal Nehru, not only in the Indian Parliament in 1952 but in Kashmir’s historical Lal Chowk in front of lakhs of people.
“He at that time said that this was a commitment not only with Kashmiris but to the whole world that they will allow the people of Jammu and Kashmir to decide their future on their own as they didn’t believe in forced marriages,” he said.
Geelani said that Kashmir wanted to convey “this clear message” to the armed forces that “you will be tired of killing and maiming us, you will exhaust all your ammunition to curb us, but you will never ever succeed in containing us”.
“This is ironical that you have made our whole population a testing lab for your armed arsenal and despite the clear writing on wall you continue to remain in a denial mode,” he said.
“Whatever the circumstances, whether we are arrested or we are debarred the communication with you, our struggle will continue. We are being killed in bits, our youth are being butchered, we suffer millions and trillions of losses each day, and how can we be mute spectators of this catastrophic scenario?”
The veteran leader said, “Enough is enough. We as a nation have decided that in no way we will let our coming generation to live under the forced occupation of India.”
Geelani also condemned the arrest of Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. He said the “cowardly and childish” moves indicated the “frustration and mental bankruptcy” of New Delhi and the state government.
“Even though your actions have killed one lakh people, disappeared 10,000 and orphaned more than 60,000 children to subdue us collectively and make us surrender our fundamental right of freedom, yet the emotion of love and reverence that martyrdom of commander Burhan Wani mobilized across and beyond Kashmir, should open your eyes,” Geelani wrote in the message. “The more you strike us down, the more we shall rise with renewed determination and vigour. We are in the process of liberating our minds and the days of freedom are in sight,” he wrote.