Kashmiris want freedom: Mirwaiz

Kashmiris want freedom: Mirwaiz

Valley on boil: 'Tripartite talks or referendum can solve problem'

Kashmiris want freedom: Mirwaiz

A Majority of the people believe that Kashmir is a political problem and has to be addressed politically, while emphasising that the unrests witnessed in 2008, 2010 and 2016 were different phases of the same demand, freedom from India. Chairman of moderate Hurriyat Conference Mirwaiz Umar Farooq told Zulfikar Majid of DH in an interview that the problem can neither be solved within the ambit of the Indian or Pakistani constitutions. Excerpts:

What is your response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement about finding a lasting solution to the Kashmir problem?

The prime minister said that talks should be held within the ambit of the Indian Constitution. If that was the case, Kashmir has been under the ambit of the Indian constitution for 70 years and there has been no solution. The problem cannot be solved within the ambit of the Indian or Pakistani constitutions.

The home minister is coming to Kashmir again. If offer of talks comes from New Delhi, what will be your response?

New Delhi isn’t even acknowledging that Kashmir is a problem. They are sometimes saying it is a law and order issue, sometimes it is an employment issue and now they are blaming Pakistan and the separatists.

Coming to the current unrest, there are allegations that it is being sponsored by Pakistan. What is your take?

It is unfortunate that every time there is a peoples’ movement in Kashmir and people come on the streets they (government of India) blame Pakistan for this. It is an easy escape route for them. The people of India don’t question the government policy of using heavy hand in Kashmir when they blame Pakistan.

The Separatists are pushing people to hardships every now and then by calling endless strikes. It has crippled the economy of Kashmir and has also affected the education sector. Your say?

Rather than blaming the separatists, you should question the government. They have imposed curfew for the last 45-days and are getting more companies of CRPF and have even called back BSF to crush the people. Rather than addressing the problem politically, they are coming down with heavy military approach.

Coming to the issue of weekly protest calendars issued by separatists. It seems you people are helpless before the stone pelters and are following them instead of them following you.

Yes, I agree to some extent that there is a section of the youth who are of the view that dialogue and engagement are not going to lead us anywhere.

What is the solution, keeping in view the present world order?

We believe that the most easy and democratic way of solving the problem is to hold a referendum on both sides of the Line of Control or there should be tripartite talks between India, Pakistan and Kashmiris.

Where do you see the present agitation heading?

You have to understand that we cannot look at the situation as a culmination point. There is a long-lasting issue here. Whether 2008, 2010 or the present uprising, it all boils down to what Kashmiris want. They want freedom and every time the demand has been the same.

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