Srinagar: A day after the government ordered a review of cases of stone pelters, chairman Hurriyat Conference Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Friday termed it as a “cosmetic” move, saying it would not resolve the Kashmir issue.
“No cosmetic measure will work,” Mirwaiz asserted referring to past initiatives of the Government of India (GoI), including financial packages. “We are witness to announcements like that of packages… Rs 80,000 package… roads and railways… contracts… did it work?” he questioned. “The aim of these things was to bring the youth of J&K into the mainstream… did it work?”
Mirwaiz himself responded: “We want to tell them (the GoI) that the mainstream of J&K forms its pro-freedom population and pro-freedom parties.”
Following the recommendations of Dineshwar Sharma – the GoI’s special representative on Kashmir – to India’s home ministry, the Mehbooba Mufti government on Thursday ordered a review of cases registered against hundreds of Kashmiri youth for taking part in pro-freedom protests and demonstrations.
“Releasing a few youth, photo-ops and giving statements in newspapers won’t resolve the issue,” Mirwaiz announced from the pulpit of Srinagar’s historic Jamia Masjid here.
He said that the announcement by the government that youth arrested in the last two years for stone pelting being “first timers will be being released won’t help”.
“We feel that the government step is a cosmetic one because the government knows that due to the disputed nature of J&K, thousands of Kashmiris have been jailed in the past under black laws including PSA (Public Safety Act ) and under AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Powers Act),” he said.
According to him, the J&K High Court had quashed the cases of several Kashmiri prisoners booked under the draconian PSA, but “they were jailed again and again”.
“There are dozens of such cases wherein Kashmiris are being jailed again and again,” he said.
Mirwaiz termed the announcement of reviewing 4,500 cases of first-time stone pelters as a “mirage”. “If the announcement of the government is not deception, then what?” he questioned.
Referring to the detention of a specially-abled youth of Anantnag under the PSA and his subsequent shifting to Kathua jail in Jammu province, Mirwaiz asked, “Who was the government making fools of with its statement announcing amnesty for our youth?
“If the government truly feels that through power, arrests, house arrests, filling jails that the (Kashmir) issue won’t get solved, then it should release all political prisoners without any condition,” he demanded. “The false cases, under lawless law PSA, which have been slapped on them should be vacated.”