Riyaz Ul Khaliq
Asserting that the difference in approach and strategies doesn’t impact the resistance movement, senior resistance leaders on Sunday said that the goal of all the separatist groups in Kashmir is same.
They, however, asked people to show unity and follow program of Hurriyat Conference in “letter and spirit”.
Sharing same stage after a long time, both factions of divided All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC), supported by Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) today maintained that the proposal of PDP-BJP government to establish a “Sainik Colony” and implementation of New Industrial Policy is “actually fulfilling Rashtriya Swayamsevak (RSS) dream”.
Speaking during a seminar at Hyderpora today, Hurriyat patriarch, Syed Ali Geelani, said, “the proposal of Sainik Colony and New Industrial Policy is another offshoot of Indian government’s plan to transform the demography of Jammu and Kashmir.”
The seminar: Sainik Colony, Pandit Townships: Government’s Ambiguous Policy’ was jointly organized by pro-freedom groups of Kashmir. Mirwaiz Umar Farooq too attended the program, however, Mohammad Yasin Malik was arrested late last evening after he was released in the day. His deputy represented the JKLF.
“When Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah implemented the last Industrial Policy in J&K, I opposed it then in Assembly,” ailing Geelani, who for the first spoke sitting in his chair, said. “We were told that land will be leased to non-state subjects for ninety years but we resisted and told SM Abdullah that no one among us will be alive but these non-locals will be here and that is what actually happened.”
He said that the proposed “Sainik and Pandit Colonies and New Industrial Policy” are “off shoots of Indian Occupation”. “just to weaken our movement,” Geelani said, “these things are being done. Otherwise what is the need to construct Colony for retired army men who are living normal life with their families?”
A controversy has erupted about the PDP-BJP government’s plan to construct a “Sainik Colony” for retired army men. Although CM Ms Mehbooba Mufti has clarified that the “colony” is “meant for state subjects only”, the separatists across the ideological divide have resented the move.
The Government has also identified over 700 kanals of land to construct separate Townships for return of migrant Kashmiri Pandits, however, Hurriyat Conference have been maintain that they remain part and parcel of this land but need to settled in their native places.
The New Industrial Policy brought in by PDP-BJP combine too has invited severe criticism for giving “land to non-state subjects with no time period”. After these issues witnessed tensions in and outside on-going assembly session, the divided separatist camp “jointly” called for a one day strike and today’s seminar was another step in that way.
The octogenarian Geelani said that the proposed “Sainik Colony” is being established to “house non-state subjects to alter the Muslim majority status of J&K”. “J&K is a Muslim majority state and India knows it that the Azaadi movement can’t be suppressed easily so they are triggering the demography changes.”
He said, “government of India wants to repeat 1947 Jammu massacre of Muslims.” Five lakh Muslims were killed by Dogra forces in 1947 while over ten lakh migrated from the region.
“The Jammu region has been given in the hands of police, army, VDCs, communal forces and courts and Muslims are living a life of fear,” he said, “we wanted to go there and meet them but the government has not allowed us to cross Jawahar tunnel.”
On the issue of separate Kashmir Pandit Townships, Geelani said that no Muslim in Kashmir is averse to their return. He said that Muslims will welcome them with open heart. “We don’t have any problem if they are given Rs 30 Lakh instead of Rs 20 but we want their settlement at their native places,” he said.
The ailing leader also said that the government has itself admitted that non-locals have been settled in Jammu. “The non-local labourers who are in lakhs don’t go to their homes in winters now,” he said, “the resist the cold temperatures as the government has promised them shelters for homeless. All this is being done to change the Muslims majority status of J&K and to weaken the freedom movement.”
Cautioning youth not to fell in the “trap” of unionist political parties, he said, “NC, PDP, Congress, AIP, PC all are same and work for the interests of India.”
“Our youth should know that they have no future if the occupation of Kashmir continues under India,” he said, “not even dark future.”
Reiterating his boycott appeal for By-Polls of Islamabad elections being held on June 22, Geelani asked people to introspect. “First we attend the funeral of Mujahideen, so how is it possible that we will vote?”
Geelani said, “those who come and seeks votes from you have no power but are puppets and agents of New Delhi.” “Same people are involved in spread of liquor trade and other bad things in Kashmir.”
Lashing out at unionist camp, he said, “they are tools through which atrocities are being inflicted upon Kashmiris and then same people give shelter to those in uniform.”
Referring to new schemes launched by governments from time to time named in Hindi and Sanskrit, the Hurriyat chief lashed out at government for “trying to change the script of Kashmiri language”. “Our languages are being changed; Urdu is under attack and now Devnagri script is being considered. It is an attack on our culture.”
Opposing any “new Yatra” in Kashmir, Geelani said, “India is using Yatra as a tool of aggression. For this new locations are being searched.” We are not averse to Yatra, he said, “but it is being used against our interests.”
In his address, Hurriyat Conference (m) chairperson, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said that Kashmir is facing a grave “situation viz-a-viz its Muslim majority identity”.
“The Azaadi movement in Kashmir is strong and to weaken it, Sainik Colony and New Industrial Policies are off shoots of Indian imperialist policy towards Kashmir,” he said.
Asking people to follow the “joint program” of resistance groups, he said, “at least 30 NGOs are working in Kashmir to weaken the Kashmiris.”
“They are dividing us so that our movement is weakened,” he said, “India is well aware that the voices of Azaadi will continue till Muslims form the majority of Kashmir and to weaken it Sainik and other colonies are being planned.”
Ruing that people in past didn’t follow the programs of resistance leaders “in letter and spirit”, he said, “then voting wouldn’t have been possible.”
Appealing people to remain steadfast in their struggle, he said, “it will be our worship to God if we get Azaadi.” “Our strategies may differ but our goal is same,” he said referring to divide in the separatist camp.
However, he asserted, “there will be no compromise on Azaadi.”
He said that after several meetings, the separatist leaders have planned “not to burden the common people”. “But whatever program is announced in future, people should follow it.”
He said that the resistance groups are jointly evolving a consensus viz-a-viz Sainik, Pandit Colonies and New Industrial Policy.
On New Industrial Policy, Mirwaiz sought cooperation from businessmen of Jammu and Kashmir. “The New Industrial Policy is a means to snatch us from our resources,” he said, “there is nothing in it which could lead us to economic independence.”
On Sainik Colony, Mirwiaz quoted army figures saying, “they are saying only 180 militants are active in Jammu and Kashmir then what is 5.5 Lakh army men doing here?” “They are here to supress Kashmiris; to strengthen GoI institutions.”
He said that Kashmiris are facing war on several fronts including religious, political, historical and cultural.
On the return of Kashmiri Pandits, Mirwaiz said that it was a humanitarian issue. “Even is KPs are ideologically India, Muslims in Kashmir have no problem, we will welcome them but to their native places,” he said.
Ridiculing the statement of government that the return of KPs would strengthen the communal harmony, he said, “how is it possible to strengthen the harmony between Hindus and Muslims when KPs are caged.” “Actually, GoI wants to show the world that how KPs are living a victimized life.”
The Hurriyat Conference (m) chief said that it was good to see KPs who are living here opposing about the government plans. “Because they are safe and secure, they talk reality,” he said, “it needs to be encouraged.”
Further, Mirwaiz criticised a “section of India media” for “following preconceived notion on Kashmir”. “I can’t stop lauding Kashmir for highlighting such grave issues.”
In his address, JKLF representative, Bashir Ahmad Bhat asked resistance leadership to strengthen the unity in the camp. “Our approaches and strategies should not be hurdle in unity,” he told the leaders present in the seminar. However, Hurriyat Conference (g) spokesperson and program moderator, Ayaz Akbar said, “our goal is same and the resistance groups have been following different approaches to achieve that goal.”
Akbar said, “the people of the nation should be united. Some of our youth take up guns, which is a different strategy, that do not mean their goal is different.”
In his address, Bar Association Kashmir president, Advocate Mian Abdul Qayoom detailed as how different clauses and laws were changed and weakened. He also referred Ittihaad-i-Forum that worked to bring factions of Hurriyat together.
“We have done many joint programs but have failed to jointly pursue the programs,” he said. “At the time of strike calls, Sopore shuts but Srinagar works which shows that unity at basics is missing.”
He said, “who is saying that GoI has ambiguous policy? They are pursuing a clear agenda and today they are reaping its benefits.”
The Bar president said, “Ms Mehbooba has nothing in her hands. Whatever is being done is done by RSS itself.” “But yes, they have assigned roles to some people who lie to people about issues like Sainik and Pandit Colonies.”
Referring to Article 35-A, he said that RSS is planning to get it scrapped. It started with a seminar in New Delhi following which a write petition was filed in Supreme Court, he said. “If this Article is amended, then anyone can come and live here.”
He also said as how law regarding Kashmiris marrying outsiders was changed. “No non-state subject bridegroom could get J&K citizenship if he married Kashmiri bride and their children too were not entitled to any right under J&K Constitution but a three member bench in Jammu HC changed it,” he said, “one of the 3 judges had opposed it but the law got changed.”
Referring to New Industrial Policy, Mian Qayoom said, “quoting RSS mouthpiece: Organizer (1947 issue), columnist Hassan Zainagiree has written in his book as how right wing Hindu nationalist group had planned to change the demography of J&K.”
“RSS had then planned it then, to give land to non-local business men in Kashmir,” he said, “this would trigger change in the demography.” “And today, it is being done by PDP led government which has its policy makers in Nagpur.”