The separatist leaders in Jammu and Kashmir have come in support of journalist and human rights activist Gautam Navlakha by terming the raids at his residence and subsequent arrest in connection with the Bhima Koregaon violence as an “extreme” step. They also stated that his role and that of novelist Arundhati Roy, in support of Kashmir’s “freedom” struggle, needs to be hailed.
Navalakha has been highlighting the alleged human rights violations by government forces in Jammu and Kashmir and has previously attended seminars organised by the Syed Ali Shah Geelani's Hurriyat Conference while Roy earlier likened the presence of armed forces in Kashmir as “years of administering military occupation”. The author also advocated freedom for Kashmir and stated in 2008 that “India needs Azadi (freedom) from Kashmir as much as Kashmir needs Azadi (freedom) from India.”
Hurriyat (M) chairman, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, said, “The voices of those who speak about human rights issues in Kashmir, North East or who talk about excesses by the forces or those who talk against Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) are being silenced. People like Gautam Navlakha and Arundhati Roy were very active in Kashmir and they have been targeted. Even Indian citizens who talk against army or AFSPA are termed as anti-national by the right-wing groups. There is a need for Indian academics, intelligentsia and educated class to speak up, if not for Kashmir they need to speak about their own people."
Chairman of one of the factions of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), Javed Ahmad Mir, said, "Raids on human rights activist Navlakha betrayed use of excessive force. Both Arundhati and Navlakha have supported our cause. They also supported our hunger strikes in Delhi.”
Hurriyat (G) spokesperson, Ghulam Ahmad Gulzar said: “In 2008, when Arundhati Roy came to Kashmir, she saw millions of people chanting slogans in favour of azadi (freedom) at the tourist reception centre ground in Srinagar. She had seen for herself that people are demanding freedom. A case registered against her and we have always welcomed the support of people like Arundhati for Kashmir’s cause.”
He added that Navlakha “has always been raising his voice against human rights violations in Kashmir. We had also invited Navlakha to our seminars.
JKLF chief Mir said the BJP government has also been "espousing a stiff and rigid policy on Kashmir by its failure to start dialogue" on the dispute.
Separatists said that the arrest of Navlakha betrays the “fascist” policy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has also adopted “a stringent military approach” in Kashmir.
“Unfortunate part is that the State is very much involved in this and it speaks volumes about the fact that how people with saner voices are being pushed to the wall. Another unfortunate part is that though it is a watershed movement for India majority of people have chosen to remain silent,” said Mirwaiz. “The influence of the right-wing groups is so strong that people with a balanced voice who speak about the downtrodden and victims are not being heard,” he added.
“There is no political approach which has been adopted by Modi and only the military approach has been adopted. The AFSPA, cordon and search operations (CASO) is also continuing. There were many positive statements given by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Kashmir which has not been reciprocated with a favourable reaction,” Mirwaiz said.
Updated Date: Aug 29, 2018 23:30 PM