Srinagar: Separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani has said that in spite of the mayhem Kashmir is witnessing over the past nine days and bitter experiences of the past a “good beginning” can be made to create an atmosphere conducive for peace and resolution.
He has placed six conditions which he says are actually ‘Confidence Building Measures (CBMs)’ which can work as a prelude to meet the objective of reconciliation.
Spelling these out in a letter he has written to the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, the octogenarian leader says;
“Accept the disputed nature of Jammu and Kashmir and announce the acceptance of the people’s Right to Self Determination… Announce rapid demilitarization process of population centres… Repeal draconian laws like AFSPA and Public Safety Act that facilitate the arbitrary and irresponsible behaviour of an already hostile army and that provides them with the legal immunity against heinous crimes like extra-judicial killings, rape, torture and arson committed against a defenceless local population,” few of them read.
“Release all the political prisoners from prisons, detention centres and house arrest and restore their right to free political activity… Allow UN Special Rapporteurs and all international human rights and humanitarian organisations to work in Jammu and Kashmir, so that the iron curtain of the occupation is lifted... Announce and ensure free political space for all the parties to the disputed Jammu and Kashmir, particularly those advocating the Right to Self Determination for the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” read the other three demands.
The copies of the letter, which were released here on Sunday, says that these steps if taken with a sense of urgency and responsibility can help towards restoring calm and peace in an agitated population and pave the way for the processes required for the 'final and just resolution' of the 'dispute' of Jammu and Kashmir and “thereby disperse the perpetual clouds of war and conflict that threatens global peace”.
Geelani who remains under house arrest at his Hyderpora residence here for the past several months said he had written to Moon on behalf of the “oppressed and besieged” people of Jammu and Kashmir and wants to draw the attention of World Community towards the “grave and grim situation being faced by the caged people of the Valley for the past 7 decades in general and for the last two and a-half decades in particular.”
The letter begins with his known premise that the people of the State have been facing “repression” at the hands of “Indian occupation forces” right from the day they landed in Srinagar in October 1947 after the British withdrew from Indian subcontinent and divided it into two states-India and Pakistan.
Accusing New Delhi if forcibly annexing the State against the principles of partition, self-determination and natural justice, he says that India has been continuoysly denying its people the right to self-determination.
“Since then the people of Jammu and Kashmir have been relentlessly struggling to free themselves from this Indian military grip using all means. In response to our struggle for freedom India has deployed more than half a million armed forces to crush and control less than 10 million people of this occupied region turning it effectively into a huge prison with the densest military concentration anywhere in the world as reported by many international organizations including European Union”, the letter says.
It alleges that, so far, more than 100,000 people have been killed in Kashmir Valley and around half a million in (post-Partition violence) in Jammu region and that thousands have been maimed, imprisoned or tortures besides about ten thousand fallen victim to involuntary disappearances.
“This situation has not only destroyed the lives of the people of Jammu and Kashmir but has jeopardized world peace and resulted in three wars and numerous confrontations between, now nuclear-armed, India and Pakistan-two populous and poor countries- whose meagre resources are being eaten up by an endless and fruitless arms race,” the letter pleads.
Turning to the ongoing turbulence, he alleged that a new wave of “state terror” has been unleashed on the people of the Valley and that the security forces have used “extreme violent means” to prevent the people from mourning the killing of a “popular resistance commander” (Burhan Wani).
The letter says, “Indian forces killed more than 40 people so far, injured more than 3,500 ranging from kids as old as 4 year to 80 year old, and damaged eyes of more than a 100 people, firing pellet guns rendering at least 35 people completely blind in both eyes...curfew and severe restrictions have been imposed besieging the already imprisoned population further. Pro-freedom leadership has been either imprisoned or placed under house arrest”.
He has cautioned that this state of affairs can spiral out of control and trigger a fresh confrontation in the region which, he says, will result in further destruction of life, resources and property, which needs to be avoided.