Former union minister and senior Congress leader Mani Shanker Aiyar on Thursday asserted that he would use his pen to make people across India aware about the ground situation in Kashmir.
Aiyar, who is heading a five-member delegation of New Delhi-based Centre for Peace and Progress, called on senior resistance leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Shabir Ahmed Shah at their residences in Srinagar and discussed “various issues” with them. The group comprises OP Shah, former Air Marshal Kapil Kak, journalist Vinod Sharma and I D Khujuria.
Aiyar said he has come to Srinagar on his own and doesn’t represent the government. “I will use my pen to inform people of India what Kashmiri people want, once I reach New Delhi,” he told reporters after meeting Geelani and Mirwaiz.
RSS CAN’T SUPRESS K-STRUGGLE: GEELANI
During his meeting with the group, Geelani, the chairman of Hurriyat Conference (G), said: “RSS-led regime in New Delhi and Srinagar can’t suppress the genuine voice of people of Kashmir and (freedom) struggle will continue till the last army soldier leaves the Valley.”
The delegation called on Geelani at his Hyderpora residence here.
Referring to killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani last year, Geelani told the visiting members that thousands of mourners participated in his (Burhan’s) funeral prayers without any disturbance. “(But) the mourners were showered with bullets without any provocation, resulting in killing of dozens of people,” he said.
“6,000 people were maimed, hundreds blinded and over 11,000 arrested during people’s uprising last year. It is very strange that the prisoners after serving in jails are re-arrested despite the court orders on their release,” Geelani said.
“During the Congress regime in New Delhi, the situation was no different. We experienced the same brute behavior, where JKLF chief Muhammad Maqbool Bhat and Muhammad Afzal Guru were hanged. It is very sad that even their mortal remains were not returned to their families,” Geelani said.
Referring to “historical facts”, Geelani said: “Congress is responsible for the present mess and it was the first prime minister of India, Jawahar Lal Nehru who made a (plebiscite) commitment with the people of Jammu and Kashmir. We are reeling under a martial law-like situation as there are curbs on political activities and even leaders are not allowed to meet each other. For the past seven years, government authorities have placed me under house arrest and stopped me from discharging my religious and social obligations.”
“Escalating tension between India and Pakistan is a cause of concern. We are not in favor of war as both countries are nuclear powers. Any flare up may destroy and devastate the whole subcontinent,” Geelani told the delegation.
The Hurriyat (G) chairman, according to his spokesman, also told the Aiyar-led team that issues like Kashmir can be resolved through dialogue only “but first Delhi must admit that Kashmir is a disputed territory.”
“We have no enmity with people of India and all of us are a part of human society and as such bonded in mutual relations,” Geelani said.
“Indian media’s biased approach towards Kashmir has added to the confusion. It (media) spreads concocted stories and wrong information to people in India. I want to make it clear that people of Kashmir are demanding right to self-determination but New Delhi through its repressive force is trampling our rights and strangulating our genuine demands,” he said.
KASHMIR A MILITARY ZONE: MIRWAIZ
Kashmir is a military zone where committing human rights abuses has become a state policy, the Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq told the Aiyar-led delegation on Thursday.
“Hateful outbursts and aggression against people of Kashmir have become a norm in power circles of New Delhi. It is propagated through most of its viscous electronic media to poison the minds of Indians and mislead them regarding the Kashmir issue,” Mirwaiz told the visiting team that called on him at his Nageen residence here.
“I told the delegation that the Valley has been turned into a garrison where civilians are held hostage while forces enjoy complete immunity from prosecution by law,” he told Greater Kashmir after meeting the group.
“All kinds of restrictions, bans, gags and curbs are in place to give no space to people to express their aspirations or protest their condition and the repression against them. Killing blinding, maiming, torture, arrests and detention are the order of the day,” he said.
The Hurriyat (M) chairman said he told the delegation that the situation in Kashmir was so “frustrating that even young students are hitting the streets every day to resist forcible control.”
“I told them that the recent incident of using a Kashmiri youth as a human shield by an army officer and then the Army awarding him clearly defines the Delhi’s perspective regarding Kashmir and how to deal with it,” he said.
“I also told them that despite facing such oppression, people have made up their mind that they won’t budge and will continue to demand their basic right to self determination, guaranteed by Indian leadership before the world,” he said.
During the conversation, Mirwaiz said he also stressed on the fact that by resorting to military might, Delhi and a few of its supporters, can’t crush the popular sentiment “which lives deep in the hearts and minds of Kashmiris irrespective of age or religion.”
“The Hurriyat believes that an alternative way to resolve the issue is through negotiations between India, Pakistan and people of Kashmir to satisfaction of all, but primarily keeping in view the aspirations and will of the people of Kashmir,” he said.
Mirwaiz said due to Kashmir issue, India and Pakistan are once again facing-off on the Line of Control and clouds of war are looming large on the borders.
“I maintained that it is high time the two nuclear powers realize that their confrontational approach will not take them anywhere, except destruction. Both the countries should start a sustained dialogue process for peaceful resolution of issues,” Mirwaiz said.
NOTHING SHORT OF RSD: SHAH
The chairman of Democratic Freedom Party Shabir Ahmad Shah said he told the Aiyar-led delegation that people of J&K would never give up their struggle for right to self-determination.
According to a statement issued here, the delegation called on Shah at his Sanat Nagar residence here.
“During the meeting, Shah while putting forward his viewpoint stated that Kashmiris are not in favour of strained relations between India and Pakistan but demand justifiable solution to Kashmir issue which has been the bone of contention between the two nuclear neighbouring nations,” the statement said.
“Shah told Aiyar-led delegation that India has left no stone unturned to inflict worst kind of atrocities on the people of Kashmir and urged the delegates to sincerely make aware the people of India and its leaders about the reality of J&K. The DFP chairman told the delegation that he was hopeful that they will pass their message to the people of India that Kashmiris were not against the integrity of India but are struggling for their birth right, which is right to self-determination.”