June 2016 News

Separatists Again: 'Won't Allow Sainik Colonies, KP Townships In Kashmir'

12 June 2016
Greater Kashmir
Arif Shafi Wani

Srinagar: Upping the ante against setting up of colonies for Pandits and Sainiks in Kashmir, senior separatist leaders on Sunday asked people to be ready to 'foil conspiracies aimed to change demography of the Valley.' 'People should be ready to resist conspiracies which are aimed to change the demography of Kashmir,' said Chairman of Hurriyat Conference (G), Syed Ali Geelani. He was addressing a seminar 'Proposed Separate Colonies and Ambiguous Policies of the Government' at his Hyderpora residence. The seminar was jointly organized by separatists. 'We have to be cautions of India's plans to settle non-locals in the state. The pro-freedom camp is united. Now it is the turn of people, particularly youth, to be united and adhere to our program to foil conspiracies of India and its collaborators to change Muslim majority Kashmir into minority,' he said. Unlike previous events at Hurriyat (G) headquarters, the government allowed the seminar amid massive deployment of police around the venue. Geelani said Kashmiri Pandits, who migrated from the Valley in early '90s, are welcome to return to their homeland. 'Kashmir Pandits are our brothers. They are welcome but at their respective homes, and not separate colonies. If the government has announced giving Pandits Rs 20 lakh each for their rehabilitation, let them give them Rs 30 lakh, but they must be settled in their own houses,' he said. On proposed Sainik Colonies, Geelani termed it a 'conspiracy to settle non-locals in the Valley.' 'The retired Army personnel have, during their service, constructed their houses. There is no need to establish separate colonies for them. As a legislator, I had opposed the move of Sheikh Abdullah to pass a law to give land on lease for 90 years to non-locals. But he went ahead. Now this government is also doing the same thing on directions of people at the helm of affairs in New Delhi,' he said. Elaborating, Geelani said: 'New Delhi wants to make Jammu and Ladakh its own entity. Demography of Jammu was changed by massacring over five lakh Muslims in 1947. People of Jammu region are reeling under fear of communal elements and 28000 Village Defence Committee members. A conspiracy has been hatched to settle 10 lakh soldiers in Kashmir. Even BJP admitted in the J&K Assembly that it is the right of non-locals to be settled permanently in Kashmir,' he said. 'Similarly over five lakh Biharis who are working in Kashmir as laborers have been assured settlements here. This winter most of them did not even go to their respective states. Sainik and Pandits colonies and land for non-locals to set up industries are all offshoots of the conspiracy aimed to change demography of Kashmir,' he said. The Hurriyat (G) Chairman said 'people should realize the grave situation.' 'However, it is unfortunate that those people who participate in funerals of militants, also attend election rallies of pro-India politicians,' he said. 'Kashmiris did not render unflinching sacrifices for flyovers or roads. It is high time for Kashmiris to introspect and stay away from pro-India parties including National Conference, PDP and Congress as they have only one agenda and that is to implement New Delhi's anti-Kashmir policies,' he said. On unity among separatists, Geelani said there can be difference in strategy but 'our goal to attain freedom is same.' 'Like pro-freedom groups, people also need to remain united and work for attaining right to self-determination,' he said. Chairman of Hurriyat Conference (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq also urged people to remain cautions of conspiracies aimed to change demography of Kashmir. 'Conspiracies have been hatched to change Muslim majority character of Kashmir since 1947. History stands testimony to how Hindutva forces and RSS including its leader Shyama Prasad Mukherjee hatched conspiracy to change demography of Kashmir,' Mirwaiz said. Elaborating, he said the 'so-called Muslim parties and self-styled Ulema are pursuing the cause of divisive forces and are a part of conspiracies. '30 NGOs are working here whose objective is to divide Muslims in the name of sects or region. This is a plan to weaken our freedom struggle. Ironically, some Kashmiris for the greed of power are facilitating these groups to pursue their nefarious designs,' he said. 'As far as Industrial Policy is concerned it has been devised to make us economically dependent and snatch our natural resources. Attempts are being made to make us slaves as no measures have been taken to make us economical independent. We will tooth and nail oppose establishment of Sainik Colonies. We appeal traders, civil society, industrialists, hoteliers and Bar Association to take a stand on these issues and pro-freedom camp will support them,' he said. Mirwaiz termed establishment of Sainik colonies as a 'conspiracy.' 'Army spokesperson said 180 militants are active in the state. For them, there are over five lakh troops. These troopers are here to suppress aspirations and resentment of Kashmiris. New Delhi is fighting Kashmiris on political, religious, social and cultural fronts and we have to remain united to foil its conspiracies,' he said. The Hurriyat (M) chairman termed the return of Kashmir Pandits as a humanitarian issue. 'Many of us including younger generation might not have even seen Kashmiri Pandits, but we will wholeheartedly welcome them. We have no objection if Kashmiri Pandits ideologically support India. Can the government, by creating these walls of hatred, bring back communal harmony between Pandits and Muslims?' Mirwaiz asked. 'By setting up separate colonies, New Delhi wants to give an impression to the world that they (KPs) are insecure and label Kashmiri Muslims as extremists and communal. The Pandits living in Kashmir have opposed separate townships. The pro-freedom leaders and civil society will reach out to the Pandit leadership and establish people-to-people contact with Pandits to apprise them of conspiracies against them and appeal them to settle in their own houses,' he said. Mirwaiz urged the media to highlight the situation and issues in Kashmir factually. 'Unfortunately, a section of media in India is working with pre-conceived notion on an agenda. However, I express gratitude to the media in Kashmir for exposing conspiracies against Kashmir which are hatched in the power corridors,' he said. On unity among separatists, Mirwaiz said 'our strategy and approach could differ at times, but pro-freedom leadership is united as far as the goal of Azadi is concerned. We will stand united against the RSS agenda which is aimed at diluting the Kashmir issue and dividing Kashmir. People must follow our programs to protect their identity and take forward the ongoing movement.' Civil Society member Shakil Qalandar said 'conspiracies have been hatched to make us economically dependent.' 'Before 1947, Kashmiris were self-reliant; pursuing 27 trades introduced by Shah-Hamdan (RA). Due to conspiracies hatched by New Delhi, we have become entirely dependent on other states. India is exploiting our natural resources and owes us in lieu of the Indus Water Treaty. NHPC which is acting like East India Company, has taken over our water resources,' he said. 'Many industrial units in Kashmir which were run by non-locals are lying defunct while our employed youth are craving for space to start small scale units. By virtue of the New Industrial Policy, the Government wants to settle non-locals and weaken our economy,' he said. Senior leader of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, Bashir Ahmad Bhat, urged separatists to strengthen unity among themselves. 'Though pro-freedom leaders can have separate ideologies but they must show discipline and jointly foil conspiracies against them for the sake of sacrifices offered by Kashmiris,' he said. Civil Society member Abdul Majid Zargar said '25 colonies for non-locals have already been established in Jammu.' 'New Delhi is fighting us on various fronts. By proposing separate colonies for Pandits, it wants to defame Kashmiri Muslims. We need to devise alterative means like stop paying taxes to the government, than going for shutdowns and protests, to oppose settling of non-locals,' he said. Columnist Dr Javid Iqbal said 'situation in Kashmir is similar to Palestine.' 'People should be aware of how Israel gradually made settlements in the West Bank to change demography in Palestine,' he said. Columnist Hassan Zainagaree said the PDP-led government 'is taking dictations from Nagpur.' 'It is now or never situation for Kashmiris. We must oppose settlement of non-locals in the Valley. We must remember that those who forget their history are bound to lose their geography,' he said. Civil society member and columnist ZG Muhammad said 'attempts are being made to change Kashmiri into Devnagri script.' 'All our scriptures are in Kashmiri. However, people at helm of affairs with help of collaborators have unleashed cultural aggression,' he said. President of High Court Bar Association Mian Abdul Qayoom underscored the need of unity among separatists. 'Since 2002 we have been making attempts to forge unity but failed. In 2008, the pro-freedom camp united but could not sustain it. Situation demands that pro-freedom camp needs to formulate joint strategy to oppose settling of non-locals and change demography of Kashmir,' he said. Prof Sheikh Showkat Hussain, who heads Law department at Central University of Kashmir said 'imperialists tend to change demography of subjugated nations.' 'Even in recent times the British settled all the Chinese from Hong Kong in the Northern Ireland. RSS founder Mohan Bhagwat has been maintaining that change in demography on the pattern of Xinjiang is the only way to settle Kashmir and the present government in Jammu and Kashmir is acting on his dictates in letter and spirit,' he said. Senior leader of Democratic Freedom Party Muhammad Abdullah Tari said whether the pro-freedom have some differences with each other, they have to 'forget them and work in unison to take the movement forward.'