Saturday, July 18, 2009

Friday Sermon in Grand Mosque of Kashmir


From pulpit of grand mosque of Kashmir, Mirwaiz says Kashmir not religious issue  

Asks US to shun indifference & intervene to resolve K-dispute

Naseer A Ganai

Srinagar, July 17: On US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to India, the All Party Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq today asked the United States to shun its ‘indifference’ towards Kashmir and pressurize India and Pakistan to resolve the long standing dispute. ‘By using indiscriminate force on peaceful protesters,’ he said New Delhi was forcing violence on Kashmiris.
“Kashmir is not a religious issue, it is not an issue of terrorism or extremism, it is a political dispute and the United States has a role to push both India and Pakistan to settle this political dispute,” Mirwaiz said addressing people from the pulpit of Jamia Mosque during Friday prayers here.
Released from days of house arrest on July 14, Mirwaiz said Kashmiris have launched a peaceful political movement and the United States has far great responsibility to understand the movement in its right prospective. “The United States should play its role but it should play the right role,” Mirwaiz said. The Hurriyat chairman said that Kashmiris welcome US president Barack Obama when he talks about change and peace. “But peace in South Asia cannot be achieved without resolution of core issue of Kashmir,” Mirwaiz said.
He reiterated that Kashmir struggle shouldn’t be linked with terrorism or extremism and accused the government of India of forcing violence on people of Jammu and Kashmir. “Our struggle is peaceful. But government uses all violent means to crush this peaceful struggle,” he said.    
He said the United States and the international community should accept the five-point proposal put forth by Hurriyat to create congenial atmosphere for resolution of Kashmir dispute.
The five-point proposal includes repeal of draconian laws, withdrawal of troops, cross LoC trade, putting J&K under control of temporary administration.
He said the government was fearing people of Kashmir and it doesn’t allow any assembly apprehending rightly that people would voice their aspirations and it would resonant in international forums. “Government is suffering from people phobia,” Mirwaiz said. He regretted that after 9/11 there has been indifference towards human rights. “We want US to break its silence on the issue of human rights violation,” he said. 
He condemned the government for keeping the leadership in jails, under house arrest and ‘subjecting Kashmiris to constant siege.’ “But how long will you keep us under siege,” he asked the government. He said Kashmir was not an administrative problem and a change in government won’t settle it.
The Hurriyat chairman, however, was cautious in response to resumption of dialogue process between India and Pakistan. Mirwaiz expressed regret over the manner in which both the countries are interpreting the joint communiqué issued after the meeting. The joint communiqué de-linked bilateral issues from terrorism and avoided mention of Kashmir. He said there was deep mistrust between the two countries with India presenting the joint statements in its own way and Pakistan gives it its own interpretation. He said whether India accepts it or not, whether Pakistan says it or not, Kashmir would continue to remain a dispute till it is settled. “Sir Creek, Siachen, culture are secondary issues and both the countries can’t run away from Kashmir,” he said. He accused India of drumbeating about exclusion of Kashmir from joint communiqué. He said Kashmir remains core dispute whether it is stated or not.
Nearly eight months after the Mumbai attacks, the India-Pakistan dialogue was back on track on Thursday when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani at Sharm-el-Sheikh in Egypt.
Criminal elements in movement’
Mirwaiz said some elements having criminal bent of mind were creating fear among people in the name of freedom struggle. “They loot shopkeepers, torch vehicles, take away mobiles from people,” he said. He said gondaism in the garb of the movement wouldn’t be tolerated. He said these elements would not be allowed to create scare in the society. He said coming out on roads and raising slogans for right to self-determination was an aspect of the movement and it would continue. “But the criminal elements defaming the struggle have to be isolated. He said Kashmiris were fighting for Azadi and “our fight is based on certain principles. Azadi without principles won’t lead us anywhere.”

Mirwaiz on society and marriages:
Mirwaiz expressed serious concern over, what he said, ‘growing waywardness, corruption, materialism and ostentation’ in Kashmiri society. He said for past 20 years Kashmiri nation suffered a lot. “There is no village, there is no area in Kashmir where Kashmiris have not left marks of sacrifice,” he said. But he said materialism has crept in the society devouring its fabric.
“We receive marriage invitation cards costing Rs 2500. I too received one invitation card for attending a marriage ceremony. It carried several things along, including dry fruits,” Mirwaiz said. He described ostentation and materialism as dangerous tools to bring chaos in the society that is ‘reeling under massive State oppression.’ “Far greater responsibility lies on us to help our brethren who have suffered economic, personal, educational loss in past 20 years. And there are thousands of such families in Kashmir,” he said.
He said teenage murders and other crimes should force us to ponder and think over seriously about the issues. He said parents must take responsibility of their children and see which way they were going. “The incidents of Maisuma and Varmul are disturbing and speak volumes about the way society is going,” he said. “Over the years we as a nation have failed to create institutions, instead whatever institutions we had, we made them defunct.” He said institution-building should get a priority and asked the government employees to show seriousness in their work instead of bothering about sixth and seventh pay commission.

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