Hurriyat (G) Chief Keeps Mum On Hands Behind Sectarian Violence
SRINAGAR (ONS) - Asking why Kashmiris were being sentenced to life imprisonment when no forces personnel were being prosecuted for custodial deaths and fake encounters, the chairman of the Hurriyat (G), Syed Ali Shah Geelani, on Thursday asserted that Indo-Pak talks could not put the Kashmir issue into cold storage, and said that the time was not appropriate to undertake a visit to Pakistan.
At a press conference in Hyderpora, Geelani, whose Hurriyat (G) had yesterday said that he would also expose the hands behind sectarian violence in Kashmir, merely uttered platitudes about unity and rising above differences “in the present situation.”
“This is not the appropriate time for visiting Pakistan,” Geelani told the media. “Apart from the fact that I don’t have a passport, I feel that the undertaking a visit to Pakistan in the present situation would not be appropriate.”
“The Hurriyat led by the Mirwaiz has visited Pakistan earlier. But what did its leaders bring from there?” he said.
“Growing ties and engagement between India and Pakistan will under no circumstances put the Kashmir issue into cold storage,” he said. “We will not surrender, nor relinquish our demand for the right of self-determination,” he said.
This was obviously an attempt to answer the contention of Mirwaiz Umer Farooq that the Kashmir issue could not be kept hostage to the issue of unity (among separatists) in view of the swiftly changing geo-political scenario and growing Indo-Pak ties.
“We want a peaceful and lasting resolution to the Kashmir issue, and this can be found out in light of UN resolutions by negotiations,” he said.
“We don’t accept any formula or outline other than the right of self-determination,” he said.
Terming the recent life sentences to two Kashmiris as “cruel and oppressive”, Geelani said that five lakh Muslims had been killed here but no one had been punished for the crime.
“We have around 600 new graveyards, our womenfolk has been criminally targeted, youth have been done to death in custody and fake encounters, and no police, paramilitary and army personnel involved in these human rights violations has been punished,” he said.
“This shows that the state is practically under police and army raj,” he said.
“India is a rising imperialist power which used immense force to crush the peaceful Kashmiri struggle,” he said.
“The Kashmiri struggle will not die under any oppression but continue till it achieves its goal,” he said.
“Kashmiris have faced untold oppression and suffering, but they have vowed not to buckle and not to relent,” he said.
“I say without fear of contradiction that struggle and resistance are a duty for us like namaz and hajj,” he said.
In view of tactics like recent life sentences, the people of Kashmir should rise above all differences,” he said.
Deploring recent sectarian tensions and clashes in Old City areas, Geelani said that Islam does not preach discord, but Sunnis and Shias were all Muslim and brothers in light of the Quran.
“There should be no divisions between Muslims, nor should sectarian tensions be nurtured,” he said.
Geelani said that he had planned to tour the Old City to express solidarity with people in curfew-hit areas and take out a peace march to emphasise amity and brotherhood there, but the police kept him confined to his residence and foil his initiative.
“People here are being deceived in the name of peace and the international community is being misled,” he said.
“There is no peace here. It is only that even peaceful activities have suppressed with the help of the police and the army,” he said.
Refuting a statement by a former statement, Geelani said that the police presence around his residence was not meant for his protection but to curb his movement and activities.
“I am not allowed to go out, and not even to attend Friday prayers,” he said.
“The media should ask why I have been kept continuously confined to my house and not allowed even to go to the mosque for prayers,” he said.