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It's not Muslim Kashmir Vs Hindu India: Mirwaiz

Srinagar, July 03, 2010:

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq
Mirwaiz Umar Farooq briefing media at his Srinagar residence. / Photo: Zulfiqar Khan

Chairman of moderate faction of Kashmiri’s main separatist alliance Mirwaiz Umar Farooq Saturday said Kashmir was a political issue not a fight between Muslim Kashmir and Hindu India.

“Kashmir is a political issue ripe for resolution not a fight between Muslim Kashmir and Hindu India. Resolving Kashmir is in the national interest of India,” said Farooq addressing a press conference at his residence in the outskirts of Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian administered Kashmir.

Farooq also rejected the statements of Indian Home Minister P Chidambaram and Indian Home Secretary G K Pillai that external agents were sponsoring protests in Kashmir.

Chidambaram and Pillai had blamed external elements like Lashkar-e-Toiba militant outfit of sponsoring Kashmir protests.

“These statements are false and far from the reality. India should stop looking at Kashmir from Pakistan prism. No Pakistani is getting killed in the protests. The young Kashmiris are being killed by police and troopers,” said Farooq, who took over as the chief priest of Kashmir at the age of 17 following the assassination of his father Mirwaiz Moulvi Farooq.

Eleven youth have been killed since June 11 when a teenager Tufail Ahmad Matoo was killed allegedly by Indian Police when they fired a tear smoke canister, which hit him in the head.

“The cycle of killings and violence will continue in Kashmir until Kashmir issue is resolved,” said Farooq.

He said New Delhi and the State government had given a free hand to Indian paramilitary troopers and Indian Police to kill Kashmiri people.

“They are barging into houses and ruthlessly beating inmates. Indian police has arrested more than 400 youth. Such repressive measures won’t deter people from continuing resistance movement,” said Farooq.

He demanded release of all political prisoners lifting of curfew and restrictions.

“Indian Police and Indian paramilitary troopers should be removed from cities, towns and residential areas. Their removal itself will normalise the situation,” said Farooq.

He termed Siachen, water and other disputes between New Delhi and Islamabad as secondary.

“India, Pakistan and representatives of Kashmiris should come on table and resolve Kashmir dispute as per the wishes and aspirations of people of Kashmir. As a first step, India should immediately consider our five-point proposal and start demilitarization. The foreign secretaries of the two countries should talk on it on priority basis,” he said.

Farooq had given a five-point proposal for Kashmir resolution which was similar to the four-point proposal of former Pakistan president Parvez Musharraf for Kashmir resolution.

Regarding the rumours of attacks on Hindu pilgrims by Kashmiris en route a Hindu cave shrine in south Kashmir, Farooq said: “People of Kashmir and Hurriyat have always welcomed Hindu pilgrims to the Valley. Yatris (Hindu pilgrims to the cave shrine) have always enjoyed hospitality of Kashmiris. We assure yatris that they will be safe in Kashmir and won’t be harmed.”

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