General Bipin Rawat's statement on Kashmir 'acceptance of facts', says Mirwaiz Umar Farooq

Srinagar: Kashmiri separatist leaders on Thursday claimed that Army Chief General Bipin Rawat's statement on Kashmir was an "acceptance of facts", but said there cannot be a military solution to the Kashmir issue.

General Rawat said on Wednesday that the people in Kashmir had realised that it was very difficult to secede from India and they were also getting tired of militancy.

 General Bipin Rawats statement on Kashmir acceptance of facts, says Mirwaiz Umar Farooq

File image of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. Reuters

"They have seen it for too long and they have realised (that) it hasn't given them what they had desired for. Let me tell you...with a country like India, to seek independence from a nation where we have strong armed forces, where we have a strong democracy, and a very strong government, you cannot secede from India. This is what the people have realised," the army chief said.

Reacting to the statement, the separatists, at a joint press conference, said it was a clear indication that General Rawat had accepted the fact that the majority of the people in Jammu and Kashmir "are demanding their right to self-determination and freedom".

"This statement is an admission of what the people of Kashmir want. This is a clear indication that he has accepted the fact that the majority of the people of Jammu and Kashmir are demanding their right to self-determination and 'azadi' (freedom)...," Mirwaiz Umar Farooq told reporters at his Nigeen residence.

Mirwaiz, the head of the moderate faction of the Hurriyat Conference, was flanked by Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chief Yasin Malik.

The hardline Hurriyat Conference chairman, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, addressed the presser telephonically.

The three have come together on a united platform under the name of Joint Resistance Leadership.

The Mirwaiz said the Army chief's statement was a clear indication of New Delhi's policy on Kashmir.

He said there cannot be a military solution to the Kashmir issue.

"Let it be absolutely clear that the Kashmir issue cannot be resolved (and) Kashmiris cannot be pushed to the wall, thorough intimidation, force or coercion," he said.

On the NIA charge sheet against 12 people in connection with the funding of terror activities in Jammu and Kashmir, the Mirwaiz said it was an effort to mislead the people of the country.

"There is an all-out effort on part of the government to mislead the people of India and the people of the world to give them an impression that this is a sponsored struggle and people are in this for money. We reject this. This is a mere propaganda...We are not scared and we won't be cowed down," he said.

Speaking on the occasion, Malik said Pakistan was not involved with the 2016 agitation and dared the NIA to arrest the separatist trio who, he said, was behind issuing protest calendars that year.

Geelani also said the NIA accusations have no basis and demanded the immediate release of all the accused who are under the NIA custody.

He said it was New Delhi's policy to link the "struggle in Kashmir" with terrorism.

"The struggle of Kashmiris is not terrorism, our struggle is different. We want a peaceful resolution of the issue," he said.

Updated Date: Jan 18, 2018 19:39:34 IST