'If Not Autonomy, Then Azadi'

'If Not Autonomy, Then Azadi'

21 February 2013
Greater Kashmir


Srinagar: Describing Autonomy as the ‘right’ of people of Jammu and Kashmir, National Conference additional general secretary Dr Shiekh Mustafa Kamaal Thursday said that Government of India can no longer deprive the people of the State of this right. “If Centre will not grant autonomy to J&K this time, mark my words, in future it will be compelled to grant freedom to the State,” Kamaal told local news gathering agency CNS. He said there are some “reliable and broadminded people” in New Delhi who feel the pain and aspirations of people of Jammu and Kashmir. Kamal termed the issue of return of mortal remains of Afzal Guru a non-issue stating that when Afzal was alive no one came forward to help him and when he is dead everyone is raising hue and cry about his body. He said: “Time has changed now. Government of India can no longer throw our autonomy resolution into dustbin. Our party is striving hard to get autonomy for the State as it is the genuine document of the people of Jammu and Kashmir which has the legal authenticity,” Kamaal said and added that National Conference is committed on the issue of autonomy. Kamaal said that everyone in Delhi is not chicken-hearted and communal. “There is a lobby in Delhi which is pro-Kashmiri and understands the reality about Kashmir. Such people are an asset and they realize that Kashmiris are not given a fair deal and National Conference is hopeful that such people will impress upon the Central Government to grant autonomy to the state,” he said. “If Government of India will show reluctance in granting autonomy to the state at this stage, time will soon come when the country will be forced to leave Kashmir.” Dr Kamaal lamented that some people are politicizing the issue of Afzal Guru. “When Afzal was alive no one including Hurriyat leaders extended a helping hand to him but now people are demanding his body which is a non-issue. I ask a question to the separatists. Why they acted as a mute spectator and why they didn’t give strike calls on Afzal when he was in Tihar Jail and now why they are making so much clamour on his mortal remains. Afzal is no more now and we must stop playing dirty politics on his issue,” he said and added even Jehad Council Chairman, Syed Salahudin has asked people of Kashmir not to make it an issue.