July 2016 News

'I Inspired Burhan Wani But We Never Met,' Says Salahuddin

17 July 2016
Kashmir Life

Srinagar: Hizb-ul-Mujahideen's Muzaffarbad based leader Syed Salahuddin has said that Burhan Muzaffar Wani, whose killing triggered fierce reaction killing more than 40 people was 'inspired by me'. His revelations came in an interview with Kolkata based The Telegraph. 'There are thousands of Mujahideen in Kashmir whom I have not met, but who follow me and my path,' Salahuddin was quoted saying. On the issue as how he sees spurt in protests and violence after Burhan's killing, HM chief said that Burhan Wani was 'not any common man' killed by forces. 'He is the sentiment of the Kashmir Valley. Every person in the Valley - man, woman and child - all of them are attached to this sentiment. There is a Burhan in every corner of the Kashmir Valley.' The HM chief believes that 'this sentiment' will not go away with the killing of Burhan Wani. Observing that coming days may see rise in militant attacks and will not restrict to J&K only, the UJC - a body of militant outfits - chief maintained, 'There is no alternative left for us.' 'We want to stress that it is for the good of the Indian government to understand that the people of Kashmir are asking for their right to self-determination. If they don't, we have to start target-oriented attacks.' He added, 'I promise that we will hit everywhere and anywhere we like. We will go to any extent. You will see it, we will intensify our attacks.' Countering Delhi's claims that he was encouraging people to come out on streets which lead to civilian deaths, Salahuddin said, 'Children, doctors, government servants, old men, mothers - they are not coming out on the streets because I asked them to do so. They are committed to their cause.' Claiming that he has been cautious since mass pouring of people on streets after Burhan was killed, the HM commander said, 'They (Hurriyat Leaders) are in touch with us on a regular basis. But I have been cautious and have not spoken with any top separatist leader in the past one week.' He, however, added that Hurriyat leaders, 'all' of them, 'are with us on the same page'. Observing that those who are protesting on streets are born in turbulent 1990s, Salahuddin said, 'what we are seeing on the streets of Kashmir is a spontaneous public reaction to the killing of Wani. Also, there is pent up anger against the security forces because every day, somebody or the other is being targeted. You must understand that the youths of Kashmir, who are protesting on the streets, are a part of the generation which was born during the armed struggle. They have grown up witnessing unrest, killings and crackdowns. You need to understand their desperation to be freed from India on the basis of the fact that they are attacking heavily armed security forces with stones. It means they have no fear for life and they are not ready to compromise their right to self-determination.' Reacting to the question that some of his family members in this part of Kashmir were enjoying government services, he asserted, 'I have not asked a single man to join militancy. It is the choice of the person to join it. It could be possible that my sons don't think I am doing the right thing. You should understand that people joining us feel it strongly from within. They think this is the most befitting reply to oppression.' The HM chief, who moves across Pakistan, claimed that his organization 'doesn't recruit people'. 'Young boys are coming to us on their own because they have been facing assault by the Indian government. If we don't recruit them, then they will pick up stones and protest on the streets. Also, the social media revolution is everywhere in the world. The young and educated Kashmiris do not need to learn from me how to use the social media. They know how to make the best use of it,' he added. Salahuddin counters the narrative that 'militants have lost the war'. 'What has India got in these 26 years?' he questioned. 'Have they (India) got Kashmiris with them? Let me tell you, in a freedom movement, a struggle of 26 years is nothing. India's freedom movement went on for 90 years, so how do you even say that 26 years is enough?' He added that if there 'was no militancy, where is the need for such heavy deployment of security forces in Kashmir?' On the issue of religion being one of the motivating factors, he said that the Kashmiri movement was 'Islamized from day one'. 'Why do you think an educated young man, who has a bright future otherwise, is willing to die? Is he mad? Azaadi is not his objective. What will he do with Azaadi if he dies during the struggle?' He also lashed at the propaganda that there was 'any ISIS in Kashmir'. 'This is fabricated propaganda by the Indian government. There is no support for ISIS, Al Qaeda and Taliban in Kashmir,' he claimed. Maintaining that peace was the only way, he said that any forward movement on Kashmir requires 'India to accept Kashmir as a disputed territory'. '(AB) Vajpayee was broad-minded. There is no comparison of Modi with Vajpayee. We still believe in peace but subject to one condition - let the Modi government give up dilly-dallying with the Kashmir issue,' he said. Ending his over an hour long interview, Salahuddin asserted that he will get Pakistan to the 'peace' table if 'India agrees to come to the table for our Right to Self Determination'