New Delhi: Nov 1, 2010: Jamiat Ulema Hind’s Conference on the Kashmir issue held in Ram Lila Maidan here on Sunday unanimously called for the withdrawal of the army from Kashmir and putting an end to gross human rights violations by the state police and the security forces to restore peace and normalcy in the valley. It appealed to the leadership of the militants, calling them ‘mujahideen’ , thus sanctifying their terrorism as Jihad, to take recourse to democratic process. No attempt was made to explain how Jihad could be waged democratically.
Most speakers displayed complete ignorance of or were willing to condone the treacherous policies pursued by Pakistan that has resulted in the present situation. Mufti Mukarram went to the extent of demanding the implementation of UN resolutions which could not be implemented due to Pakistan’s unwillingness to withdraw its armed forces from the state of Jammu and Kashmir, as the resolution demanded. The late Prime Minister of Pakistan Zulfiqar Bhutto had practically rescinded these resolutions in the Simla Pact of 1972 calling for the resolution of this issue bilaterally and former President General Musharraf had said, they are no longer applicable. Journalist M J Akbar, however, clarified, to loud cheers from the audience, that he was NOT with Kashmiris if they wanted another division of the country, but like every other Indian, he too would support them if they demanded justice.
The conference was presided over by the President of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind Maulana Syed Md Usman Mansurpuri and attended by its Secretary Maulana Mahmood Madani, Maulana Mujtaba Farooque, Secretary Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Maulana Abdul Wahhab Khilji, Secretary Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadis, Film Director and human rights activist Mahesh Bhatt, Journalist Dr Aziz Burney, Journalist M J Akbar, Swami Agnivesh, Renowned Gandhian Rajiv Vohra, K K Jain, Kamal Farooqi and Professor Tahir Mehmood along with other dignitaries and intellectuals.
The Secretary of the JUH, Mehmood Madani said in no uncertain terms that persecution of Kashmiri people and atrocities on women and children in the name of suppressing protests would not be tolerated anymore because Kashmir belonged to us and Kashmiris were our own. He said that the erosion of trust that had taken place among the people of Kashmir due to the non-fulfilment of promises on the part of the government was the root cause of the current situation in the valley and to win their confidence back, the government would have to take some sincere steps. He further said that restoration of civil rights was a pre-requisite for bringing back peace and normalcy in the state.
Maualana Madani read out an 11 point Resolution passed by the JUH:
1) The government should accept the demands of the Kashmiri people within the frame work of the Constitution of India to restore peace in the state;
2) The government should fulfil the promise of special economic packages for the development and stability of Kashmir and take appropriate steps for the rehabilitation of displaced people and pay compensation to the affected people.
3) The government should issue orders to the armed forces to vacate populated areas as they have made life difficult for the people.
4) The AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Powers Act) and the PSA (Public Safety Act) should be immediately revoked;
5) Action should be taken against the violators of human rights and a commission should be set up to investigate the disappearance of missing youth in the valley;
6) Innocent arrested people should be immediately released;
7) The protesters should not be treated as militants and terrorists;
8) The JUH appeals to the leadership of the mujahideen to take recourse to democratic process;
9) The JUH assures the Kashmiri people that we support their legitimate demands. We do not regard their interests as different from those of the common Muslims of the country; We shall not allow the millat or the country to break up;
10) The JUH appeals to the peace-loving and justice-loving people and organisations to come forward and start movement against the injustice and atrocities meted out to the Kashmiri people;
11) The JUH declares that its movement against the human rights violations, atrocities and injustices in Kashmir will go on shoulder to shoulder with the people of the country.
Almost all the speakers and representatives of organisations present in the conference supported and seconded the resolution. The Secretary of the Jamat Islami, Mujtaba Farooque said that his organisation supported the resolution and said that the army of any country was for the safeguard of the sovereignty of the country and for the protection of its people, not for killing innocent children and women.
The Vice-President of All India Muslim Personal Law Board Maulana Kalbe Sadiq said that the Kashmir issue was messed up by Mr Jagmohan when he was made the governor and said that our Prime Minister instead of taking solid decisions was merely indulging in lip service.
He said that there are two parties in this dispute. Some people say that there was a third party also involved. But if the government makes further delay in solving this issue, a fourth party which is more powerful than India might also get involved in it.
He further said that had Gadhiji been alive today, he would not have allowed this bloodshed of the Kashmiris.
He proposed to the government to involve the leaders of Jamiat Ulema Hind and Darul Uloom Deoband in the Kashmir process as he hoped that they can solve the issue.
Renowned journalist and group editor of Rashtriya Sahara (Urdu) Dr Aziz Burney discussed the historical perspective of the Kashmir issue and questioned the legitimacy of the presence of the army in the valley.
He said that Kashmir was an integral part of India but if we do not have the army posted in all the other states of India as we have in Kashmir, then Kashmir is not a part of India in the same way as are other states of India.
Senior journalist M J Akbar said that it was heartening that the Jamiat was holding a sincere and honest discussion on the Kashmir issue. He said, “If the Kashmiris demand justice, we are with them but if they demand division of the country, we are not with them.”
Mahesh Bhatt started his address with Assalamoalaikum and said, “We should accept the bitter truth that if Pakistan is responsible for the state of affairs in Kashmir, the government and people of India are equally responsible for it. Our hands are also red with the blood of the Kashmiris. We say that Kashmir is an integral part of our country but do not bother to see what they are going through. We love to see entertainment programmes on the TV but do not like to see the plight of the Kashmiris.”
He further said, “When I was in Kashmir, some people came to me and said that the police and security forces were killing their brothers and nobody bothered about it, nobody cared for them. Please do something. Raise the issue with the media and the government. I came back and requested the media to take up the issue but no one listened. I then requested the politicians. They did not give much importance to it either.”
He said that if the government wanted to solve the problem, it should first restore peace.
Referring to the large scale killing of protesters demanding ‘azadi’ he asked,” Agar Kashmiri azadi chahte hain to kya aap uska gala ghont denge?” (If Kashmiris demand ‘azadi’, will you strangle them to death?). The Kashmiris want ‘azadi’ because they have seen our horrible face. They want ‘azadi’ from fear, terror and atrocities. Go and look into the eyes of the people who have buried their young children.
He also said that the US should not get involved in this issue. “Yeh hum do bhaiyon ka mamla hai” he said to loud cheers. He further said, “if our brothers are demanding ‘azadi’ we should listen to them. We cannot suppress their voices with bullets. We have not been able to do that”, he said.
Professor Tahir Mehmood said that since Independence, Kashmir had been given special status but gradually the special status was violated by the successive governments at the centre which led to unrest and the current situation.
He said that there were reports of gross human rights violations and that the Kashmir issue was a human rights issue. He also suggested that a team comprising the representatives of Jamit Ulema-e-Hind, Muslim intellectuals and leaders should be sent to Kashmir. The team of only three interlocutors had been sent which was not enough.
Maulana Mufti Mukarram of Fatehpuri Masjid said that it was commendable that we were raising our voice for justice. It is the duty of every peace loving Indian to raise his voice against the atrocities and tortures on the Kashmiris by the armed forces. No Kashmiri is a terrorist, no Muslim is a terrorist, and the killings, the torture of Kashmiri youth, women and children could not be tolerated.
He said, “I have learnt that the first Prime Minister of India Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru had made some commitment before the UNO about Kashmir. The Nehru family is still there. If it is true then the government should honour its commitment.”
He further said that he did not support the illegitimate demands of the Kashmiris but their legitimate demands should be met.
Referring to the killings of protesters, he said that it was unfortunate that the security forces kill the protesters whereas in other parts of country the police and the security forces do not open fire on protesters. Protesters often burn trains, block roads, damage government offices but no one is killed.
Arya Samaj leader Swami Agnivesh was the most vocal against the human rights violations in Kashmir and supported the resolution passed by the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind. Criticising the Prime Minister for his silence on the issue, he asked,” Why is he not taking any initiative, leaving the matter to his Home Minister and the state government?”
He demanded that the Prime Minister make his decision known on the demand of the withdrawal of armed forces, the repeal of AFSPA and PSA within fifteen days. He also demanded a judicial inquiry into the killing of 111 people mostly youngsters by the security forces.
He warned that if these demands were not met, a movement would be launched and lakhs of members of Jamiat and peace-loving people would march from Delhi to Kashmir.