Demilitarization First, Talks Next: Mirwaiz

1 March 2009
Rising Kashmir

Srinagar: Chairman of Hurriyat Conference (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq Sunday said dialogue and peace process with New Delhi cannot move ahead till complete demilitarization of the State. Addressing an annual congregation at the shrine of Khawaja Nashband Sahib, Mirwaiz said: “Indian Police and Indian military rules Jammu and Kashmir. The so-called elected government has no powers. No peace process or dialogue will bear fruit till there is complete demilitarization.” Thousands of people attended the gathering at the shrine of Naqashband sahib where every year on 3rd Rabial Awal, devotees offer Asar (late afternoon) prayers. Addressing the gathering, Mirwaiz said: “Innocents were killed at the onset of the new government. It has deflated their claims of upholding human rights and prosecuting culprits.” Referring to the recent killing of two youth at Bomai, Sopore by the army, Mirwaiz said: “It is ironical that on one hand Indian army kills innocents attending a religious ceremony and then along with the government cover up the crime by terming it as collateral damage and accidental killing.” The Mirwaiz said that the interference of police and government in religious affairs cannot be tolerated. “We warn the government of dire consequences if oppression and suppression of our religious rights and duties continues.” On Friday Police and CRPF seized Jamia Masjid Srinagar for the eighth time during the past three months and refrained people from offering prayers. “After seizing Jamia Masjid and imposing undeclared curfew, police blatantly defends oppression and says that people themselves are not ready to offer prayers. It is shame on their part,” the Mirwaiz said. Stating that the government has failed to live up to its promises, the Mirwaiz said: “They promised to protect the rights of Muslims but entirely opposite is happening on the ground.” Stone pelting The Mirwaiz urged the youth not to damage public property by pelting stones during protests and channelize their emotions rationally especially on Fridays. “The youth should channelize their emotions and not damage public property. They should act judiciously and refrain from the destructive methods of expressing resentment against the Indian authorities,” said Mirwaiz. Informing that a delegation of transporters had visited him and complained about the damage done to their vehicles during a stone pelting incident last week, Mirwaiz said: “Vehicles have incurred a loss of Rs 15 lac during protests. We cannot afford this.” Appealing youth to respect Friday as it is the auspicious day for Muslims Mirwaiz said, “Youth should not provoke police and authorities to take action. We should not give them an excuse to seize our religious places.”