SRINAGAR: Mirwaiz-e-Kashmir and chairman of his faction of Hurriyat Conference Umar Farooq on Wednesday said Kashmir is being used as “whipping boy” and its people targetted, threatened and intimidated to polarise Indian voters.
“Ours is a peaceful political movement there is a deliberate design to link it with violence and through that route, harass intimidate and malign us,” Mirwaiz said in a statement issued hours after authorities barred him from addressing a press conference called a day following the NIA raids at his residence.
The houses of resistance leaders including JKLF chief Yasin Malik, Shabir Shah, Ashraf Sehrai, Zaffar Akbar Bhat, Syed Naseem Geelani and others were also raided by NIA on Tuesday.
In the statement, Mirwaiz said it is not difficult to understand that at the time of elections in India, when other things have failed for the rulers, the propaganda has taken over the reality and the people of India are being deliberately misled and fed lies.
“Simultaneously, a viscous and steady campaign to demonise Kashmiris and generate hate against us is promoted especially through electronic media to justify repression against people and action against us and to project the people’s just struggle for self-determination as an enterprise,” he said. “The great sacrifices and struggles of people offered for the resolution of Kashmir dispute are undermined.”
He said the threats of removing Article 370 and Article 35-A are kept hanging over our heads like the Sword of Damocles.
“Let the rulers know for a fact that the people of Kashmir will defend these articles at all costs. Whether the leadership is in jails or out, if any tinkering is done with (the articles), the people will be on streets. No one in J&K is going to take this assault at our identity and disputed status lying low,” he said.
Mirwaiz said NIA during its raid from 8 am to 6 pm confiscated certain items including his laptop, phones, hard drives from office, computers, press releases on Hurriyat and Anjuman Auqaf Jamia Masjid letterheads, and records of Kashmiri students studying in Pakistan medical colleges that Hurriyat recommends.
“I was not given the copy of magisterial order for search though I was shown a copy. Upon leaving, I was not given the seizure memo of things which is the norm. When I asked for it, I was told to approach court for it,” he said and denounced the “incriminating evidence” as claimed by NIA in its press release.
This is a matter of concern as there was nothing “incriminating” that was taken, Mirwaiz said. As I was not given a seizure memo, any mischief can be done, he added.
“It was also said that ‘a high tech internet communication was also recovered’. This in actuality is a simple internet lease line by a private company which is commonly used in media offices and at homes for good and uninterrupted internet use. The word ‘recovered’ is part of the propaganda to give an impression as if it was something hidden that has been discovered,” he said.
“We will approach the international organisations as these intimidating and threatening tactics are being adopted against the leadership and activists by authorities. (This is) totally undemocratic and totalitarian,” he said.
On the simmering tensions between India and Pakistan, Mirwaiz said the leadership and the people of Kashmir greatly urge both nations not to escalate the situation and desist from warmongering which will be a disaster for the entire region.
“We ask both governments that as in the past, escalation and war can never resolve the issues and only talking to one another is the way forward,” he said.
“We believe in dialogue to resolve the dispute. We have walked the talk when it came to engagement and done so in the past even at huge risks and sacrifice. We do not want war and violence. We want our youth to live and prosper not be forced to a violent path. But that cannot happen through repression and coercion. That can only happen when the sentiment and aspirations of Kashmiris are addressed in the human and historical context,” Mirwaiz said.