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Mirwaiz urges Delhi to stop demographic change in occupied Kashmir

Recent rise in killings of Kashmiris in J&K is a grim reminder of the need to resolve the Kashmir conflict urgently.

NEW DELHI: All Parties Hurriyat Conference led by incarcerated Mirwaiz Umar Farooq called on the Indian government on Thursday to stop state violence against Kashmiris and to reverse what it said were measures initiated to usher demographic change in held Jammu and Kashmir.

“Recent rise in killings of Kashmiris in J&K is a grim reminder of the need to resolve the Kashmir conflict urgently, and prevent the region from getting consumed by it. The fast changing geopolitical reality of the region also points to the need for urgent conflict resolution” the emailed statement from Mirwaiz said.

It said that the silencing of guns on the LoC by India and Pakistan provided the much needed relief to the residents of LoC, living constantly under its shadow.

The thaw in India-Pakistan relations, it said, was always a welcome development for the people of J&K who see it as a harbinger of engagement and dialogue between the two neighbours and the way forward for resolution of the Kashmir dispute.

“But sadly not much has moved forward since, or improved for the people of J&K. Instead, the oppressive situation on the ground continues unabated.” The Mirwaiz and his family were recovering from Covid, sources said, but other Hurriyat leaders were not keeping good health with new and old ailments.

“Political leadership and hundreds of political prisoners and youth are languishing in jails or under house detention and the health condition of many among them is a constant source of worry,” the statement said. “Yasin Malik, a heart patient, needs immediate replacement of the 25 year old heart valve, as per his family sources, while Shabir Shah’s health has deteriorated in jail as he suffers from various ailments.”

Despite repeated appeals from all sections of society and international human rights organisations, political prisoners and youth have not been released so far, even on humanitarian grounds in times of the Covid pandemic, the Hurriyat statement said.

“Even during Covid times, iron-fisted measures and institutional oppression continues.”

The passing and implementation of laws aimed at demographic change, post August 2019’s unilateral decision by the Government of India to scrap article 370 and 35A and downgrade and break up J&K into two union territories ruled by New Delhi, has led to the fear of loss of identity among the people of J&K, which is deeply disturbing them.” The statement spoke of great anguish at the loss of employment guarantees, land rights and exploitation of natural resources by outsiders, post the enactment of these new laws. “As a consequence, there is a tremendous rise in psychological ailments among people and an alarming rise in incidence of suicides.”

On the other hand. the statement alleged, “civilian killings, killing of police personnel and their families, custodial killings and killings of young boys taking to arms, all point to the gruesome bloodshed that goes on due to the non resolution of the Kashmir conflict.”

The APHC said that it has always advocated peace and growth for all the people of the region. “It’s our strong belief that this can actually be achieved with the resolution of the Kashmir conflict through dialogue among India and Pakistan and the people of J&K. And, for a dialogue, trust and a conducive atmosphere is the first requirement.”

To achieve this, “the government must revoke all measures of demographic change and all laws that disempower the people of J&K especially since August 2019 and release the youth and all political prisoners from jails and under house detention, including it’s chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq,” the statement said.

Ahmed Mukhtar Naqshbandi

Media person and communication expert for over 25 years. Worked with Dow Jones News, World Bank, CNBC Pakistan, Aaj TV, ARY TV, Abbtakk TV, Business Recorder, Pakistan Observer, Online News Network, TTI Magazine and other local and world Publications.

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