Govt Trying To Link Militants, Stone-throwers: Mirwaiz1 December 2010
The Indian Express
Srinagar: Back from the seminars in Chandigarh and Kolkata, moderate Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said the state government was deliberately trying to forge a link between stone throwers and militants in order to give a bad name to the peaceful Azadi movement in Kashmir. He also said that the encounter at Qamarwari, in which three militants were killed, was staged. “The government is trying hard to convey an impression that the stone throwers are actually militants in disguise and thereby create an excuse to kill them. The encounter at Qamarwari is part of the strategy,” Mirwaiz said at a press conference at Hurriyat headquarters after his return from outside the state. His companion at the seminars, Hurriyat executive member Bilal Gani Lone, was also present. “The government wants that Kashmiris should pick up guns as they find it easy to deal with militants rather than peaceful protesters,” he said. Talking about the assault on him at the seminars in Chandigarh, Kolkata and also in New Delhi earlier, Mirwaiz said the attacks were part of a “government sponsored systematic plan” to scare them away. “India, no doubt, is rising as a global power and we wish the country well but at the same time intolerance is also rising in the country,” Mirwaiz said. “We think the country needs to introspect as to whether it is losing its democratic culture. And whether it can still claim to be the country of Gandhi and Nehru who stood for non-violence and resolution of problems through dialogue, debate and discussion”. Mirwaiz said that whenever the central government took initiative to start dialogue with Kashmiris, Hurriyat welcomed it but there was a sustained effort to discourage such initiatives. “When we want to start a dialogue with the people of India, there is an attempt by the government to subvert it. Rightwing elements are given free hand to prevent us from doing so,” he said.