Choking political space leads youths for picking-up gun

Choking political space leads youths for picking-up gun

People shout slogans before offering funeral prayers of Mushtaq Ahmad, a civilian, and Hilal Ahmad Naikoo, a suspected militant, who according to local media were killed during a gun battle between suspected militants and Indian security forces on Monday, in Pinglena village in south Kashmir's Pulwama district February 19, 2019. (REUTERS)

Reacting to army commander’s appeal to the families of local militants to return to the mainstream, separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik on Tuesday blamed New Delhi’s tactic of choking political space as a main reason behind Kashmiri youth picking up gun.

“If it was possible to defeat a peoples’ movement by military oppression, police highhandedness, killings, massacres, and other tyrant means, then no country, including India, would have tasted freedom and sovereignty,” they said in a statement issued after meeting, in Srinagar.

Referring to Lieutenant General Kanwal Jeet Singh Dhillon, Srinagar-based Chinar Corps Commander’s statement in which he has asked parents to persuade their militant sons to return or ‘otherwise be ready to shoulder their dead bodies’, they said, “Persuading young boys to refrain from treading some path is not in the hands of fathers, mothers or even political leaders. However, ball also lies in the court of Indian political and military leadership who have chosen to choke every little space on political dissent in Kashmir.”

“It is, in fact, the aggressive policies of India’s political leadership, its police, and other agencies and forces, choking of the peaceful political space in Kashmir and hence pushing Kashmiri youth to the wall, which is responsible for pushing younger generation to the armed path,” the separatist trio alleged.

They claimed in 2008, when Kashmiris, “at the behest of international community, and Indian civil society changed the outlook of their freedom struggle and started an exemplary peaceful resistance’ they were suppressed by military and police might.”

“Hundreds of young and unarmed youth, children and women were killed; thousands maimed, thousands jailed, and people’s agitation was suppressed by military might. Same oppression was repeated in 2010 and again a peaceful political dissent was crushed by military and police boots,” they alleged.

The separatist leaders claimed that from 2014, when the BJP took over the reins of government in Delhi, they announced a “hardcore policy against Kashmiris and immediately started their anti-Kashmir actions under operation all out.”

“A conscious human being in no case can accept the killing of any human being. When you chose to suppress a nation or even a human being by military might, choke every little space on peaceful political dissent, jail and torture political activists and leaders, and use only iron fist to curb on peoples movement, you, in fact, push that nation or person to the wall and in other words promote violence and violent means only,” they claimed.