‘Putting leadership in jails or under house detention for months futile’
SRINAGAR: In his Friday address at the city’s historic Jamia Masjid, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said that the state must change its ‘prohibitory mindset’ and allow students to reclaim their space for activism and freedom of expression.
“All space for freedom of expression gets more and more choked,” he said. “The state has to understand that it cannot control the situation by resorting to brute force. It has to change its prohibitory mindset and allow students to reclaim their space for activism and freedom of expression in college and university campuses, as is the norm world over,” Farooq said.
“Putting the leadership in jails or under house detention for months has proved futile in containing the problem, as this is a pan-Kashmiri political struggle and not confined to any particular section,” he said.
Farooq addressed the people from the pulpit of the mosque after seven weeks. He had been under house detention in this period. The house arrest was withdrawn by the PPD-led coalition government on Friday.
“Extreme state repression in all forms further pushes the people to resist and to stand up against it,” he said. “Spontaneous student protests clearly bring out that every section and segment is actively connected with the sentiment which is embedded in our collective consciousness.”
“People of Kashmir do not want the death of Indian soldiers. They want this entire dance of death to stop,” he said.
“To end bloodshed in Kashmir and establish real peace in the region, India has to behave as a genuine and mature democracy. It has to seriously and sincerely engage with the people of Kashmir, taking into account their political will and aspirations, and simultaneously start a process of engagement with Pakistan, which is a party to the dispute,” he said.