Srinagar, September 21 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, the Chairman of Hurriyat forum, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has said that the people of Jammu and Kashmir want peaceful political solution of the Kashmir dispute.

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq in a media interview in Srinagar said that India wanted to hit the indigenous character of the Kashmir movement and was creating the discourse that everything in occupied Kashmir was Pakistan-driven, money-driven and sponsored. He said the direction that Indian media, particularly the electronic media has taken, is that every Kashmiri has become an enemy. “The moment you talk about Kashmir and if you don’t agree with their discourse, you are a traitor,” he added. He condemned the killing of innocent youth by Indian forces to suppress the Kashmiris’ liberation struggle.

The Mirwaiz said that NIA raids were aimed at defaming the resistance leadership and the freedom movement. “No doubt this is a difficult time for us. There is an all-out onslaught on us. In 2016, there was mass uprising. They (Indian authorities) arrested Hurriyat leaders but it didn’t change anything. They thought arresting us is like giving us respect, raising our reputation among people. So they came up with the idea to tarnish our reputation. They still arrested us but this time the charges were different. They said we were involved in money-laundering, corruption and building property. This is to hit our credibility. But people are smart enough to see what is happening around.”

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said the Kashmiris’ liberation movement had transformed into a peaceful resistance. “It began with the 2008 agitation when people realised that a non-violent struggle had a stronger impact than a violent one. Even though the 2016 uprising began with the martyrdom of Burhan Wani, the resistance was non-violent. But the sense one gets is that New Delhi feels more comfortable dealing with a violent rather than a non-violent struggle,” he said.

To a query the Hurriyat forum Chairman said the Kashmir dispute was not an issue of Muslim Kashmir verses Hindu India. “Islam inspires to fight against injustice. It urges to fight for your rights. But Kashmir problem primarily has a background. It has a history. It has a baggage. We can’t say now this is Hindu India versus Muslim Kashmir,” he added. He said that the Kashmiri youth were forced to take up gun because of the occupation and oppression. “And there is the story of Burhan, how he was forced to take up arms. Or the boy from Nowhatta, Srinagar, who was recently killed. We know his history and background; (and) how he too was forced to take up arms,” he said.

The Mirwaiz said that New Delhi had choked every space for dissent and Hurriyat leaders had been confined to their homes or put behind the bars. He demanded that the Kashmiri students should be allowed to debate the Kashmir dispute. “If people from outside can come and have a debate in Kashmir University why can’t students themselves be allowed to have such a debate?” he asked.

On the shutdown calls given by the Hurriyat leadership, the Mirwaiz said, in the absence of political space for dissent, all the resistance leadership is left to do is to call for a hartal (shutdown) when something happens. “We know nothing happens to India due to our hartals. For us hartal has now become less of a protest and more of a mourning. We mourn the loss of our youth. All other means of protest have been denied to us,” he maintained.

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