SRINAGAR: Senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar-led civil society group on Thursday met separatist leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Shabir Ahmad Shah and discussed the prevailing situation in Kashmir with them.
Five-member civil society delegation led by Aiyer met moderate separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq at his Nageen residence this morning.
Other members of the delegation included O P Shah, Kapil Kak, Vinod Sharma and ID khajuria.
Mirwaiz told the delegation that situation in Kashmir is one of extreme oppression and Valley has been turned into a garrison of military, paramilitary and police force and civilians are held hostage.
He said the troops enjoy complete immunity from prosecution by law and all kinds of restrictions and curbs are in place to give no space to people to express their aspirations or stage protests.
“Killing blinding, maiming, torture, arrests and detention are the order of the day. The situation is so frustrating that even young students are hitting the roads each day to lodge their protest,” Mirwaiz said adding using a Kashmiri youth as a human shield by an army officer and his honoring by army chief clearly defines Government of India’s perspective regarding Kashmir and how to deal with it.
He told the delegation that Hurriyat believes that an alternative way to resolve the Kashmir issue was through negotiations between India Pakistan and the people of Kashmir to the satisfaction of all.
Later, the Aiyar-led delegation called on Shabir Shah at his Sanat Nagar residence in uptown Srinagar.
“We are not in favour of strained relations between India and Pakistan but demand justifiable solution to Kashmir dispute which has been the bone of contention between the two nuclear neighbouring nations,” Shah told the delegation.
Alleging that India has left no stone unturned to inflict worst kind of atrocities on people of Kashmir, he urged the delegates to sincerely make people of India and its leaders aware about reality of J&K.
“The delegation should meet people of Valley and listen to their viewpoint as to what tragedies have befallen on them. India has witnessed the Jalianwala Bagh Massacre but in Kashmir, such massacres are a routine. We don’t have enmity with people of India but demand right to decide our future. History stands testimony to the fact that J&K was an independent territory even before the birth of India,” Shah told the delegation.
He said all options of registering peaceful protests have been closed and state has been turned into a virtual jail and social media stands banned.
“We are not scared of dialogue but are of the view that it should be tripartite and unconditional. The international community needs to play its role on Kashmir and take steps to bring all the stakeholder of this dispute on a resolution table,” Shah said.
Later, in the evening civil society delegation called on hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani at his Hyderpora residence.
Geelani also briefed the delegation about the prevailing situation in Kashmir and the excesses committed by troops during over five months long unrest in the Valley last year.
He told the delegation that people are demanding right to self determination, which has been promised to them by India in United Nations.
The delegation also met senior separatist and Shia leader Aga Syed Hasan.
Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman, Mohammad Yasin Malik, has refused to meet the Aiyar-led delegation.
Aiyar during a one-day conference in Srinagar few days back had said peace in Kashmir was possible only through dialogue and warned Government of India that if it promotes violence then people too would indulge in violence.
“If BJP talks to armed rebels in Nagaland, why can’t it talk to stone throwers in Kashmir and if they New Delhi doesn’t talk now, then guns will start talking,” he had said.