Chairman of Hurriyat (M), Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has in the past put forth many demands for the creation of conducive atmosphere for talks with the Government of India including the revocation of AFSPA and the release of political prisoners. In an exclusive interview with Firstpost, he spoke about the present Kashmir unrest, Burhan Wani, the role of Pakistan and a lot more:
Do you think that the conditions this time are different from 2010 ?
I don’t think the conditions are different today than they were six years ago. In 2010 as well, people were out on the streets seeking the freedom and the sentiment for freedom has not died down. People had learnt the lessons from the 2008 agitation. The issues remain the same. But this time, besides the martyrdom of Burhan Wani, there was anger about other issues as well. People have been angry about the proposed settlement of the ex-servicemen, exclusive township for the Kashmiri Pandits and over giving up the state subject rights in industrial policy. They realised that India is trying to assimilate the people of Kashmir linguistically and economically.
Why do you think people showed so much anger over the killing of Burhan Wani?
A: The people of Kashmir easily associated with the life of Burhan Wani. He was from a prosperous family and was good at studies. He could have become a doctor or an engineer, but he chose the path of azadi. Every Kashmiri related to him. He was a local person and he was a Kashmiri nationalist. He represented the symbol of resistance. Moreover, unlike the past 20 years of militancy that remained discreet, Burhan was very open and remained active on social networking sites. He didn’t use any aliases. Burhan had also faced excesses by the forces that every Kashmiri has faced at one point or another.
Will Burhan Wani turn into an inspiration for other youths?
The Government of India has to realise that it is its policies that are to be held responsible for the current unrest in Kashmir. They are not allowing agitation or even peaceful protests. Rather the government books people under the Public Safety Act (PSA) and excesses are committed by forces on the Kashmiri youth. It is the policies of New Delhi that are responsible for the unrest here.
Are you ready for dialogue with the Government of India to end the current deadlock?
For the talks to start with the Government of India, it must first acknowledge Kashmir as a dispute. Instead of acknowledging that there is a problem here, New Delhi blames Pakistan and the Hurriyat Conference for the current unrest. We have spoken to the parliamentarians earlier and put forward many conditions for improving the situation here. But there has been no forward movement on those issues and nothing has been done on the ground to improve the situation here.
Are there any conditions from your side that you think New Delhi should fulfil to improve conditions here?
There are a number of conditions that we had put forward in our dialogue with the former prime minister Manmohan Singh. We had sought that the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) be repealed here, that political prisoners be released and troops should be withdrawn from Jammu and Kashmir. Such demands have not been fulfilled and they stand even today.
How do you see the reaction of international community to the current unrest?
The international community has reacted, but more concrete steps need to be taken to normalise the situation here. The United States has shown its concern, but there is a need for it to ensure that India and Pakistan engage in dialogue. The dialogue is not going on, there is a complete deadlock. The dialogue will help resolve the issues.
How do you see Pakistan’s involvement in the unrest? They held a cabinet meet and even gave a call for black day.
Pakistan is party to the dispute. It has a role to play and its concerns over the present Kashmir situation are genuine and the Government of India needs to understand that.
Updated Date: Jul 21, 2016 10:04 AM