October 2017 News

Kashmiris Won't Accept Anything Less Than Freedom, Say Separatists

24 October 2017
The Hindustan Times
Ashiq Hussain

Srinagar: The people of Kashmir will not accept anything less than freedom and will continue their resistance till the last Indian soldier leaves the state, the top leadership of the separatist Hurriyat Conference said on Tuesday. The Hurriyat's assertion, through a strongly-worded statement, came a day after the BJP-led government at the Centre named former Intelligence Bureau chief, Dineshwar Sharma, to lead talks to end a nearly three-decade-long insurgency in Kashmir. The Hurriyat, however, did not mention Union home minister Rajnath Singh's announcement. The Hurriyat is an umbrella body of several groups fighting for Kashmir's secession from India. The statement, signed by Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik said India 'forcibly occupied' the state of Jammu and Kashmir on October 27, 1947 'without any constitutional and moral justification', referring to the day Indian soldiers landed in Kashmir to repulse invading Pakistani tribesmen. The separatists also called for a ritual shutdown on the 71st anniversary of the day. 'As people are observing October 27 as black day and it will convey a message to global community that they are resisting and resenting the forced occupation and will continue till the last solider leaves the state,' the statement said, adding 'it also illustrates their wish that they will not accept anything less than freedom'. Sharma's appointment to initiate talks with 'all stakeholders' has raised fresh hopes of ending a bloody insurgency that has killed more than 44,000 people in the region since 1989. The Centre has said Sharma will decide whether to talk to the Hurriyat, several of whose leaders are being probed for possible money laundering to fund public protests in the valley. In July, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested seven Hurriyat members on charges of receiving funds from Pakistan-based militant groups to wage attacks. The Hurriyat described October 27 as 'an unfortunate day for Kashmiris when we were deprived of our freedom and liberty and India against the wishes of the people landed its troops here'. 'The people of the Jammu & Kashmir were neither asked for their viewpoint about this forced occupation and nor are their wishes and aspirations being respected even today,' the statement added. The separatist leaders said 'pro-freedom leaders are being denied their political space and accused security forces of 'mercilessly killing innocent and unarmed Kashmiris, vandalising their properties and sexual assaulting our women'. They said that 'inhuman laws like Disturbed Areas Act, AFSPA and Public Safety Act' are in force and added that police and forces are given a free hand to 'perpetrate atrocities' on the people. The Hurriyat termed the accession of Maharaja Hari Singh - then ruler of Kashmir - with India as 'controversial, unreliable and undemocratic' and said experts on historical events have raised several important queries about its authenticity and over its occurrence. 'Who had given this authority to an individual that a person will decide the future destiny of people of state on his own and that too at an occasion when people stood against him and rebelled against his autocratic rule?' they said.

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