New Delhi, Sep.4 (ANI): Syed Ali Shah Geelani, the leader of the hardline faction of the Hurriyat Conference in Kashmir, has, in a press conference in Srinagar on Aug, 31, laid down five pre-conditions which, he feels, would restore peace lead to re-initiation of the dialogue process.
While setting forth the preconditions , he was aware that they are not going to be accepted by the Government of India. This was perhaps his 'response' to the suggestion made by the Prime Minister inviting all groups in Jammu and Kashmir for a dialogue and discussions.
The five conditions set by Geelani are: First, the Centre must acknowledge Jammu and Kashmir as an international dispute. Second, the government must begin the process of complete demilitarisation, duly monitored by an agency like the United Nations. Third, the Prime Minister must commit publicly and ensure practically that henceforth no killings and no arrests shall take place.
Fourth, the government must immediately and unconditionally release all the youths and political prisoners, and withdraw all cases pending in courts. Fifth, begin the process of punishing the perpetrators of state violence with the conviction of troops responsible for the recent 65 killings, followed by legal proceedings against all those responsible for "war crimes" in Jammu and Kashmir.
It is to the credit of the octogenarian leader that he has, for once, laid his cards on the table. At least, we should subject his preconditions to scrutiny and assess whether they stand any chance of a positive response.
His first precondition that Kashmir should be recognised as an international dispute is unrealizable because India has made it clear to the global community that Kashmir as an integral part of India. The only point of contention at the international level that now remains to be resolved is the status of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and the Northern areas which are being treated as colonies of Pakistan.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has already accepted that "Kashmir is a political problem which will be resolved by sustained internal and external dialogue". An insistence to give the issue an international dimension does not serve any purpose.
Another precondition is of demilitarisation. The suggestion that Kashmir is militarised is wrong at the outset. Forces have been deployed within India's territory to fight the menace of cross border terrorism. This cannot be termed as militarization. Yes, it can be said that there is more than ordinary deployment of forces in the Valley but this is a measure necessitated by extraordinary circumstances. Once the circumstances change the deployment will also reduce.
Even as Syed Geelani was addressing the press conference, the Indian Army was engaged in thwarting a massive infiltration bid in the Uri sector which culminated on August, 31, with nine infiltrating terrorists killed. Earlier, during the month, there was an encounter with terrorists in the Poonch sector and one Army Jawan was killed and two injured in Bandipora.
Thirty innocent civilians lost their lives due to terrorist atrocities in 2009 in the Kashmir Valley alone. 15 cases have been reported in 2010. Before demanding "demilitarisation" it would be appropriate for Geelani to condemn these acts and find ways and means of curbing them.
Geelani's third demand is for an assurance from the Prime Minister that henceforth no killings and no arrests shall take place. The demand is quite surprising given the fact that nobody in New Delhi or the rest of India is happy with the deaths of Kashmiris.
Here, the moot questions are: are Kashmiris being killed when they are at their homes? And, who is responsible for these deaths? If Geelani claims to be a patriarch of Kashmiris then his first duty is to ensure that his people do not come on the streets and create absolute mayhem. If he can ensure this , nobody would be killed or arrested.
His fourth demand is that political prisoners should be released. Among the 'political prisoners' should be include persons like Afzal Guru who have attacked the Indian Parliament? The top Kashmiri leadership has been given all possible freedom, to the extent of openly advocating secession. If they are free then who has been detained?
The fact is that those who are behind bars are facing charges of perpetrating terrorist and militant activity and they have access to the due process of law for seeking redressal.
His last demand that troopers involved in killing of 65 Kashmiris during street violence should be arrested is not justifiable. The troopers were performing their duty of maintaining law and order in the face of grave danger to their lives . All cases of human rights violations, or any other misdemeanor by security forces or other government functionaries are investigated vigorously and those found guilty are meted punishment as prescribed by law.eelani has tossed his demands to mislead common Kashmiri's and remain in headlines.
One expected Geelani and his associates to consider what benefits have accrued to the people of Kashmir from their divisive polices and demonstrations except death of many young boys and astronomical economic losses to the people. (ANI)
News Editors/News Desks: The views expressed in the above article are the author's. By Jaibans Singh (ANI)