Jaitley's K-remarks Set Separatist Camp On Fire

4 December 2014
The Hindustan Times
Peerzada Ashiq

Srinagar: Ahead of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi's first poll rally in Srinagar, the BJP has succeeded in occupying the centre-stage of debate with Union finance minister Arun Jaitley triggering up a fresh debate on Kashmir. 'If international community's appetite to swallow violence has decreased, its appetite of giving nations their right of self determination is still on high,' said JKLF chairman Yasin Malik in a statement issued from the Anantnag jail. 'Montenegro, East Timor, South Sudan, and Scotland are some glaring examples of nations being given an opportunity to choose their future and boundaries being redrawn,' he added. The jailed JKLF leader was reacting to Jaitley's speech made at SKICC in Srinagar on Wednesday where he said: 'Global appetite to accept violence is over. India's strength to defeat any kind of insurgency has grown. Times have changed where borders cannot be rewritten.' Malik, who went behind bars for calling for a boycott of the assembly elections, said no powerful country has ever achieved its goals by suppressing the voice of the weak. 'If India is so sure about the support of 70% Kashmiris why don't they hold a referendum and ask people about their political future,' he said. Moderate Hurriyat chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq termed the Union minister's remarks as 'strange and contrary to political and historical facts'. 'There was no relation between the Kashmir dispute and the so-called electoral process. Neither these polls dilute the dispute nor do they render the UN resolutions regarding the dispute ineffective,' said the Mirwaiz. He accused New Delhi of perpetuating a 'hegemonic and authoritarian viewpoint'. 'The revolution in Kashmir took place right in the aftermath of 1987 elections despite India claiming to have registered 75 percent polling in 1987,' said the Mirwaiz. The Union minister seems to have incensed separatists after congratulating people for their massive (more than 70%) participation. 'People of J&K are sending a message to the outside world that they want to decide their future by casting vote... in favour of a democracy. This vote has come despite past sufferings, boycott calls and inclement weather,' he had said. The hardline faction of the Hurriyat also reacted sharply to Jaitley's comments. 'Go through the pages of history, the Indian leaders had promised to resolve Kashmir issue according to their aspirations. Jaitley is distorting the historical facts about Kashmir issue,' said the Hurriyat's chairman Syed Ali Geelani. 'These elections are not fair and are managed by forces personnel. Jammu and Kashmir are inseparable part of the freedom movement,' said Geelani, while reiterating his call for election boycott and shutdown on the Prime Minister's Kashmir visit on December 8. Socio-religious group Jamaat-e-Islami spokesperson Zahid Ali also questioned the statements made by the Union minister saying 'the remarks are far from reality on ground'. Meanwhile, security has been beefed up ahead of the Modi's visit. The venue has been sealed and security checks have been increased across the city to thwart any attempt by separatists or militants to disrupt the event.