Srinagar: Kashmir’s Chief Muslim cleric and prominent separatist leader, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Saturday said the incidents in which Kashmiri youth have been killed or injured in the use of force by security forces do not augur well for the Centre’s reported plan to hold dialogue with separatist leadership and Pakistan.
“Nobody is against (holding) dialogue. We also favour resolution of all issues through peaceful talks. But you need to create atmosphere conducive for such an engagement,” he said adding that the killing of Srinagar youth after he was over ran by a CRPF vehicle on Friday and other incident of violence and reprisals involving the Army and other security forces reported from various parts of the Valley during past few days will not be any helpful.
While speaking to this newspaper, the Mirwaiz said, “Before you wish to hold talks you need to create a favourable atmosphere for it. Today Kashmiri youth are being targeted with bullets and pellets and now you have started killing them by running your vehicles over them. Talks can be held but only when you change the policy of using military might to suppress the voice of people in Jammu and Kashmir.”
Earlier during the day on Saturday, Union Minister of State at the PMO, Dr. Jitendra Singh had claimed that militancy in Jammu and Kashmir is in its “last stage” as 600 militants have been killed during the present government's “decisive actions”.
“The decisive actions that the government has taken... 600 militants have been killed during the period, and this is much higher than the number of militants killed during the UPA-I and UPA-II (governments),” Mr. Singh who represents Udhampur constituency of J&K in Lok Sabha told reporters in Jammu.
Asked if the conditional ceasefire announced by the Centre during the Muslim fasting month of Ramzan will be followed by talks with separatist leadership and Pakistan, he said that the government will take a decision which is “in the interest of the country.” He also said that the government is, in fact, willing to talk to everybody who wishes to talk to it. “Everybody is welcome to talk. Nobody has said that we are going to send an invitation to the separatists. Anybody, any Indian citizen, is welcome to meet me.”
Elaborating, he said that he had met as many as 45 delegations in Jammu and 70 to 75 in Srinagar and "Nobody has been barred from coming and meeting me.” He added that Home Minister Rajnath Singh has also said that anybody is welcome to meet him.
Meanwhile, firebrand independent MLA and leader of Awami Itehad Party (AIP) Engineer Rashid has alleged that the security forces are not interested in Ramzan ceasefire and hence are trying to sabotage it. He asked the Centre to come clean over the issue. “The horrible incident at Nowhatta involving CRPF personnel and resulting into the death of 21-year-old Qaiser Ahmed and injuries to his friend Muhammad Younis has exposed who wants to sabotage the so-called ceasefire”(sic), he said.
Mr. Rasheed in a statement issued here on Saturday also said “The government must answer if there was no deployment around Jamia Masjid area on Friday what compelled CRPF vehicle to enter the mob and provoke the youth who were peacefully protesting against the desecration of the Grand Mosque at the hands of security forces few days back”. He added, “It is unfortunate that the national media is projecting just one side of the story and trying to prove that the mob attacked the CRPF vehicle”.
He said that the CRPF personnel should have kept in mind that people were very angry and furious not only in Nowhatta area but entire Kashmir after forces had “desecrated” Jamia Masjid on May 25. “It was a wise decision not to deploy forces around Jamia Masjid but yet again the black sheep entered the mob just to provoke and find an excuse to display their brutal power. The same CRPF vehicle had minutes before the Nowhatta incident had hit a man near Khanyar”, he said.
He alleged that running vehicles over protesters has become a new operation by security forces and it seems that they are copying Israelis “who do such disgraceful inhuman acts in occupied Palestine”.
He said, “On the one hand, the security agencies are claiming high moral ground over ceasefire issue but, on the other, they from south to north are carrying routine operations without giving them hype or justifying them with lame excuses”.
He further said that the Army needs to come clean over its claim of an encounter in which two persons claimed to be militants were killed in Qaziabad forest area of frontier Kupwara district two days ago. “Not only the locals have reservations about the authenticity of the encounter, many claim that they could hear the cries of the deceased people before being shot. Army must reveal the identity of the slain men and also explain why their bodies were buried some 60 kilometres away from the encounter site”....