Kashmiris Not Against India’s Integrity: Geelani

Kashmiris Not Against India’s Integrity: Geelani

3 February 2012
Greater Kashmir
Javaid Malik

Srinagar: Chairman of Hurriyat Conference (G) Syed Ali Shah Geelani Friday said that Kashmiris were not against India’s integrity but want it to resolve the Kashmir issue according to the wishes and aspirations of people. “We want India and Pakistan to prosper and are not against anybody, but both the countries should realize that peace cannot prevail till Kashmir issue is resolved,” Hurriyat (G) spokesman Ayaz Akbar quoted Geelani as having said while addressing members of civil society in New Delhi. He said that Chairman of Kashmir Committee Ram Jethmalani had organized a special gathering of various retired officials, army officers and others at his Akbar Road residence to discuss various aspects of Kashmir situation. “Geelani Sahib was the special invitee,” Akbar said. Referring to the statement of the Union Home Minister P Chidambaram that Kashmir is about “broken promises,” Geelani said, “We have been demanding that broken promises should be fulfilled. Kashmiris should be allowed to decide their own fate and a referendum should be held. Whatever be the outcome of it will be acceptable to Hurriyat.” Geelani said that people of Kashmir were not against peace and they have been yearning for it for the past 65 years. “We are not violence mongers, nor are we fanatics, neither terrorists. We have been demanding our birthright which was promised to us in 1947. India should implement resolutions passed in United Nations and allow people to shape their own destiny,” he said. “We have never been averse to talks. We know war and violence are not the solutions. Kashmiris since 2008 have been staging peaceful protests but they have been dealt with force and crushed.” The Hurriyat (G) Chairman urged the members of Indian civil society to raise their voice against “oppression” in Kashmir. “In past 22 years more than one lakh Kashmiris have died, there are 30,000 widows, 50,000 orphans, nearly 8000 youth were subjected to custodial disappearance, 5000 unmarked graves have surfaced in different parts of the Valley and what not. We hope Indian civil society takes a note of sufferings of Kashmiris and intervene,” he said. Geelani maintained that Kashmiris were not against any religion or minorities. “History stands testimony to the fact that Kashmir has been an abode of communal harmony. People who propagate that we are against Amarnath Yatra just want to create hatred for Kashmiris. It is a misinformation campaign and we deplore it.” Geelani alleged that Government has “choked the political space” in Kashmir. “Many leaders and activists of our party are languishing in various jails. I was allowed to offer Friday prayers just twice in 2011. I remained under house arrest for almost one complete year. Police and Army call the shots and they are virtually ruling the State,” he added. Earlier, Chairman of the Kashmir Committee, Ram Jethmalani, said, “Kashmiri leaders and India will have to give up rigidity to resolve the Kashmir issue once for all. Both the parties have to soften their stand to reach on some consensus.” Another member of the Kashmir Committee, Madhu Kishwar, said, “We appreciate Geelani Sahib for remaining firm on his stand as he has never indulged in double-speak. Minorities have always reposed faith in him, but he will have to show some flexibility so that talks are initiated for the resolution of Kashmir issue.”