SRINAGAR: A day after he spoke with Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on phone, senior resistance leader and chief cleric of Kashmir, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, on Wednesday asked the Government of India (GoI) to shun aggressive approach on Kashmir and instead make J&K a bridge between Pakistan and India.
Talking to reporters here, Mirwaiz said that India controls Kashmir’s aspirations with “iron fist” and has been consistently harassing people through searches, arrests, blasting houses to rubble, killing youths, whenever anyone questioned her rule here.
“Government of India has adopted a rigid approach in JK. People are being harassed by CASOs, arrests, putting Kashmiris in outside jails, blasting of houses, killings of youth, which is pushing Kashmiri youth to pick up the gun,” he said.
“There is growing anger among youth and the Government of India’s policies are responsible for the deteriorating situation in Jammu and Kashmir,” he added. “However, New Delhi can’t suppress the sentiments and aspirations of Kashmir by its aggressive approach.”
Mirwaiz recalled former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s position on Kashmir that it was a “dispute” and his initiation of dialogue with Pakistan and the Kashmiri leadership to resolve it. According to Mirwaiz, Vajpayee had accepted that the Kashmir issue could not be resolved within the Indian Constitution, but could be resolved within the framework of humanity (Insaniyat), for which he initiated dialogue process between the three stakeholders.
“Now dialogue has become synonymous with distrust in JK,” Mirwaiz said.
Since Narendra Modi became prime minister of the country, Mirwaiz said, the Government of India officially sent his colleagues to talk to the resistance camp. His government also appointed a permanent interlocutor to engage Kashmiris in talks, but both moves have been unsuccessful because GoI fulfilled none of the conditions for sitting on the table for negotiations, Mirwaiz said.
The resistance leadership led by Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik had asked the GoI to release political prisoners, revoke draconian laws, remove armed forces from civilian areas, and consider Kashmir as a dispute, as conditions for starting a dialogue.
Mirwaiz reiterated that Kashmir is a political issue, and can either be resolved by holding a plebiscite or through tripartite talks between India, Pakistan and Kashmiri leadership. Mirwaiz, however, said that the Kashmiri leadership will think over any political initiative if announced by Modi in his upcoming visit in the first week of February.
Mirwaiz said it was also a challenge for the resistance leadership to make Indian people understand the “disputed” nature of the state.
Regarding his conversation with Qureshi on phone, Mirwaiz said that the foreign minister told him that Pakistan was concerned about the deteriorating situation in Kashmir, and said that Pakistan’s repeated attempts to push India for talks had not yielded any results so far.
“Pakistan will observe Kashmir Day on February 5 as a mark of protest against New Delhi’s reluctance to resolve the dispute,” Mirwaiz said.