Kashmir Struggle Not Extremism, Mirwaiz19 March 2010
Geneva: The Chairman of Hurriyat Conference (M), Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, has said that Kashmir struggle was not a terrorist or an extremist movement as being projected by India. “Kashmir issue is not about governance but it’s a political issue which needs to be resolved according to the wishes and aspirations of Kashmiris,” Mirwaiz said while addressing seminar “Overcoming Barriers To Realizing Self Determination” held during the 13th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council here. “International community,” he said, “Needs to understand that Kashmir is not an issue of good or bad governance but of self-determination. When we refer to Kashmir, we refer to the state of Jammu and Kashmir as it existed on 14 August 1947. This includes the five distinct regions of the Valley, Ladakh, Jammu, Pakistan administered Kashmir, Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. Hurriyat has time again tried to talk about Jammu and Kashmir with a view to present the real situation on the ground. It is not a territorial issue between India and Pakistan it is an issue concerning the fate of more than 15 million people who believe that unless and until the international community and especially the UN come forward, the issue cannot be resolved.” “It is high time for Government of India to realize that such a huge movement has been there since 1947 and especially after 1990. It is a peoples’ struggle. The Government of India has to stop making people of India view Kashmir from the prism of Pakistan,” he said. Pointing out that hundreds of thousands of people have been killed, tortured, jailed, and are missing; he said that no struggle of such magnitude could be sponsored by an external party. “Who are these people who are dying? They are Kashmiris; they are not Pakistanis, who have stood up for their basic rights, their right of self-determination. We urge the international community that we Kashmiris seek a bright and better future for all South Asia, which is not possible without peace in Jammu and Kashmir.” He said that Hurriyat Conference had taken the initiative to initiate a dialogue. “We came forward and said it is time to talk, even when the dialogue process was not working. Unfortunately although India talks about peace in Kashmir, their approach is totally military. They speak the language of peace but they talk through the barrel of the gun.’ He also indicated that it was “far from reality” to think that people of Kashmir would forget their struggle. “Recent uprisings of 2008 and 2009 indicate the strength of a peaceful movement of protest. We had more than a million people marching; they were not people with guns, or hand grenades, they were people who were asking for their rights to be restored to them; but the response was brute force,” he added. “Tall claims of India being the largest democracy of the world don’t hold true in Kashmir. The black laws, including Armed Forces Special Powers Act and the Disturbed Areas Act, provide impunity to troopers,” he said. Mirwaiz said that Hurriyat Conference had suggested that these laws should be repealed, political prisoners be released and gradual demilitarization be initiated to provide some relief to the people. “However, India did not pay any heed to our suggestions and continued with its oppressive policies,” he added. The Mirwaiz also made clear that Kashmiris wished well to the people of India but it was important to realize ‘that the issues won’t disappear, unless and until you confront those problems. It is high time that we all sit together. The time has come when we need to come forward, if we continue to evade the problem we will have a situation like in 1965 and 1971 when India and Pakistan fought wars, but now these two countries have nuclear weapons. “We Kashmiris want to talk, to engage, to let the dialogue process be meaningful, let there be a mechanism. We need a system of engagement,” he said. Mirwaiz said that Kashmiris are determined to carry forward their struggle despite all odds. The Executive Director of the Kashmir American Council, Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, who chaired the seminar said, “Right to Self Determination is a basic principle of the United Nations. Self-determination and peace and international security are inter related. The denial of self determination has brought India and Pakistan both important countries to the brink of nuclear catastrophe.” “For past 63 years they have been talking about Kashmir but there was no face of the people of Kashmir. We want to make it clear that when the UN gave the RSD they gave it to the people of Kashmir,“ Dr Fai said. He demanded that the genuine leadership of Kashmir must be included in talks. For the talks to be meaningful Dr Fai suggested there should an envoy of an international standards that would be acceptable to both India , Pakistan and the Kashmiris. He propsoed that Bishop Desmond Tutu should be appointed as Special envoy on Kashmir.