Mirwaiz slams Omar remark on Maoist-JK militant links

"We reject the statement of the Chief Minister. It is an unfortunate attempt to malign the indigenous movement of people of Jammu and Kashmir by linking it to outside forces," Mirwaiz told reporters at his residence, where he continues to be under house arrest since Eid-eve.

The Hurriyat Conference leader said he would not be surprised if the Chief Minister claims that the teenagers who died during recent protest were liked to al-Qaeda. "I will not be surprised if Omar in near future says that the boys, who were protesting over the summer, had links with al-Qaeda."

Mirwaiz's reaction came a day after Omar in a New Delhi function said "We have no experience with Maoist insurgency, even though of late we find efforts being made to build bridges between the Maoists and Naxalites of the rest of India with militants of Kashmir and also some Left-thinking academicians and students in Jammu region as well."

"We have seen evidence of it (of bridges being built between Maoists and insurgents in Kashmir). A lot more effort to build a sort of interaction. A lot of movement of known Maoist sympathisers now travelling to Srinagar and organising seminars and conferences with supporters of militant violence in Jammu and Kashmir as well," he had said.

Abdullah was apparently alluding to Maoist sympathisers like writer-activist Arundhati Roy who had expressed support to Kashmiri separatists at a programme here where pro-Azadi slogans were also raised. Later, Roy and others visited Jammu and Kashmir to espouse their cause.

The Mirwaiz said the separatist leadership was encouraged by the statements emanating from Iran, China and the US, "which have clearly accepted Kashmir as a dispute".

"We are encouraged by the statement of support from Ayatollah Ali Khamnaei and China's continued policy to treat Kashmir as a dispute," he said adding the US President Barack Obama during his India visit had clearly stated that Kashmir was a "dispute pending resolution".

The Mirwaiz demanded that the governments of India and Pakistan should initiate a sustained dialogue process with Kashmiri leadership for resolution of Kashmir issue.

"We would like to reiterate that bilateralism between India and Pakistan and New Delhi and Srinagar has failed. So there has to be a dialogue process, call it trilateral or triangular, involving the leadership of the state," he said.

The Mirwaiz said Centre should accept the ground reality in Kashmir. "People of Kashmir have spoken and spoken very clearly over the years that they want their birthright. Government of India should abandon the military approach and adopt a political approach for resolution of the issue."

The Mirwaiz, who became the first head priest of Kashmir to be prevented from offering Eid prayers on Wednesday, said he will call on ambassadors of Islamic countries in New Delhi and "apprise them about the situation in Kashmir and the interference in religious affairs by the government."

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