Srinagar: Putting up a united face before any public gathering after a long time on Wednesday, the joint resistance leadership led by Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik said that the steps taken by the government of India (GoI) “were not sincere, as same was being done when arrests, killings and oppression continued in Kashmir”.
However, the leadership trio said that they were not averse to any “sincere effort” and would “respond to that as well”.
Speaking at a seminar at Geelani’s Hyderpora residence, Geelani, Mirwaiz and Malik also made reference to recent incidents in the Tihar and Kathua jails and lambasted the treatment meted out there to Kashmiri prisoners.
In his address, the chairman of his faction of the Hurriyat Conference, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, said, “The current situation in Jammu and Kashmir is very difficult.”
“The recent incidents in Tihar and Kathua jails are pathetic,” he said.
“There is pattern in it,” the Mirwaiz observed. “Suppress them (the Kashmiris) from all sides… be it south, north Kashmir or in jails. A scary situation has been created, and Kashmiris are being suppressed on all sides.”
While referring to the laws of India, the Mirwaiz said that they clearly state that prisoners should be lodged near their homes. “They have been deliberately lodged away from their homes to show Kashmiris as to how much oppression can be done on us.”
“At a time when Kashmiri prisoners are being beaten and injured… indiscriminate power is being used against Kashmiris… (and) Kashmiris are being suppressed, a perception is being created that they (the GoI) is serious to do anything, but it is deception and there is no doubt in it,” the Mirwaiz said.
The resistance leadership has been maintaining that it wants not war but the resolution of the J&K issue according to the wishes and aspirations of its people. “We don’t want bloodbath neither do we want wars, but these things are being enforced upon us,” he said.
“We did not even know whether this seminar would be allowed… media was not allowed inside (the venue)… there is ban on all sides,” he said. “But we don’t have to lose our faith/resolve… we have witnessed worse times than we are facing today… Do remember the crackdowns and arrests in the 1990s which are prevalent in south Kashmir even today… torture and killings… did this movement stop? No. Because we are on the true path and seek justice.”
“But yes,” the Mirwaiz asserted, “if any initiative is taken on sincerity and truthfulness (naik-neeti), why won’t we respond to that. We will but we know they (the GoI) are liars and deceivers,” the Mirwaiz said, without naming anyone or mentioning the GoI’s recent initiative of appointing a special representative on Jammu and Kashmir.
“See for yourself the difference (between) what they are doing and what they are saying… this situation demands responsibility, that we need to safeguard our sacrifices… we need to show resolve and we will succeed, Insha Allah,” the Mirwaiz said.
“There has been a dance of death in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.
Ruing the divisions in Kashmiri society, the Mirwaiz said, “There is a fight of interests other than for one’s faith… Some want to become leaders, others orators… some want to run their organisation, others sects.”
The Mirwaiz alleged that the biggest tool used against the people of Jammu and Kashmir is “creating divisions within divisions”.
“Under a plan, it is being said that Shias, Gujjar-Bakerwals are not with us,” he explained. “That it (the movement) has become very limited.” The Mirwaiz said that it needs to be taken care of.
“A war has been declared against us,” he added. “Till we reform at the social level, we can’t inculcate Islamic values inside us.”
Asking people to remain steadfast, the ailing Hurriyat Conference chief, Syed Ali Geelani, said in his address that when the subcontinent got divided in 1947 and India and Pakistan came into being as separate states, “Jammu and Kashmir state was becoming a natural part of Pakistan”.
“(Because) a plan was set so as to see how (many) miles of a state aligns with which (side)… with which country our culture matches and which country has the majority of Muslims and Hindus,” he explained. “Majority of border lines of J&K align with Pakistan… J&K had majority of Muslims in 1947, and our culture matched with Pakistan as well,” he maintained.
“But why were we made slaves of India?” he asked. “It is because of our own mistakes.”
“Let me remind you,” Geelani said. “The slavery of Kashmiris started in 1938 when the National Conference (NC) was created against the Muslim Conference. (And) when NC joined Indian National Congress, it started our days of slavery.”
Geelani said, “The argument of India that J&K is an integral part of it has no basis. It is because of this gath-jod (the NC colluding with the Congress) that there is huge military occupation.”
“It is the forcible occupation of India over J&K which has no legal basis,” he asserted.
“To get freedom from this slavery, we should have resolve, commitment and unity,” Geelani said. “Above all, we have to have this resolve that we will get freedom from the occupation of India.”
Geelani said that till the people do not raise voice against their repression, “no help from God will come”. “Remember it,” he told the audience. “There is repression against humanity across the world including Muslims as well as non-Muslims.”
However, he said, that Muslims should have done justice in all such cases.
“There is no limit to repression in Jammu and Kashmir,” Geelani said. “We have people in jails and how are they being treated and injured? The non-Muslims and criminals are targeting them, in Jammu as well as Valley jails.”
“This is the height of oppression in J&K,” he said. “And it is our responsibility to raise (our) voice against it.”
So, Geelani said in his impeccable Urdu, “Muslims of J&K, people of this state, have only two options, there is no third option.”
“That we won’t speak against suppression… that we won’t come out on the roads against tyranny… that we won’t write and identify the oppressors, that we are weak and we can’t do any such thing… (these) reasons can’t be accepted; it is not acceptable,” he said.
“Either we have to raise our voice against the oppression or we have to migrate from the place,” he said while quoting holy verses and asking the seminar participants to spread what they heard here.
“We can’t migrate… where shall we go? Where?” he questioned. “Is there any place where we can go? Who will give us asylum like these Rohingya Muslims?”
“But what have we to do? If we can’t migrate then what have we to do? (Then) it is our responsibility to raise voice against the repression,” he said. “And there is no conflict on it. All sections of our society, be it doctors, lawyers, intellectuals, writers agree that voice has to be raised against the oppression.”
Geelani emphasised that the people must align their life according to the Quran and the Sunnah so get “rid of the Indian occupation”.
The octogenarian Hurriyat Conference chief lamented that Kashmiri society was being divided on the issue of haves and have not, on the basis of sects and dwelling places. He insisted on brotherhood and the fight against sectarianism.
Geelani explained that the Muslim community “started facing their downfall ever since they started making difference between religion and politics”. “Our religion is complete and guides us in all ways of our life, including politics, economics and society.”
“We must be clear that till we are slaves, even if we are slaves of Muslim rulers who are not following Islamic values or rulers who are non-Muslims… we can’t have an opportunity to live our lives according to our religion,” he asserted.
At the outset of his address, Geelani also informed the gathering that his deputy and Tehreek-e-Hurriyat secretary general, Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai, was detained by the police and was “not allowed to participate in the seminar”.
As for Malik, he said in his address that sermons on the life of the Prophet (SAW) should relate with the situation of the place where they are given. “But our Maulvis give sermons of divisions,” he said.
“Whatever is happening here, nobody talks of it,” he added.
“Look at the current situation in south and north Kashmir, especially in the villages of south Kashmir,” Malik said. “Kulgam, Tral, Islamabad, Pulwama, Anantnag and every village… in the name of crackdown, our mothers and sisters are being taken out of their homes in the mornings and then oppression is done to them… see the situation.”
“Our Maulvis are sacred that if they talk on such a situation, they will be called by the police,” he alleged. “Nobody would have been left poor here if Zakaat was used here, but that was devoured by those running the Darul-Ulooms etc. It was the right of the poor and the orphaned.”
Malik said to establish the Islamic system, “one needs to have territory… Can we establish such a system in India? Nobody talks about it… Instead Muslims are being divided.”
Malik said that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) was “used only to make Kashmiris surrender”. “There is no other reason behind it,” he said. “See the situation in the jails as to what is happening there.”
“Fascists are ruling from Delhi… Operation All-out has only one aim, to thrash Kashmiris so as to make them surrender,” the JKLF chief said. “We have got together to get thrashed. Our Islamic scriptures teach us to raise voice against this thrashing,” he said, insisting on unity among Kashmiris. “They have decided to make us surrender, but we won’t do so at any cost.”
“We will run this movement as people have given blood to this movement,” he said.
Asking people to remember the intellectuals Kashmir has produced and who were “killed by India”, he said, “We have Ghulam Muhammad Mir alias Shams ul Haq who wrote many books… he was martyred… Dr Abdul Ahad Guru, Dr Wani, Dr Farooq Ashai, advocate Jaleel Andrabi who were our intellectuals.”
Malik further said that “Operation All-out was not only against the militancy but also against the political movement to make us surrender”. “NIA, ED (the Enforcement Directorate), arrests… all are meant to make us surrender, and unity is the answer to all this,” he said. “If we are divided, how can we respond to the oppression?” he asked. “So, we need to safeguard unity, and if anyone has any question or suggestion we should put them before Geelani sahab, Mirwaiz sahab… but we will never surrender, Insha Allah!”