Chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) Muhammad Yasin Malik Friday led a protest rally in Ganderbal district against New Delhi's proposal to 'permanently settle' West Pakistan refugees in Kashmir. Malik said attempts to change demography of the state "will be strongly resisted."
Police had blocked several routes leading to Ganderbalchowk where Malik was scheduled to address a public gathering. Reports said several JKLF leaders and activists were detained at Nagbal, but Malik managed to reach the venue.
After the congregational Friday prayers, Malik led a procession from Jamia Masjid Beehama to Central Chowk Ganderbal. The procession was joined by a large number of people including women, a JKLF spokesman said.
"Kashmiris will fight all those who want to change demography of J&K and harm the political, social and geographical environment of the state," Malik told the gathering.
He termed the recommendations of the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to provide permanent citizenship to non-state subject refugees from West Pakistan as "a conspiracy to change Muslim character of Jammu & Kashmir."
"Kashmiris will defend the special status of Jammu and Kashmir even at the cost of their lives. J&K is the land full of forests and water bodies, and fragile eco-system of this kind is protected everywhere. But unfortunately, religious fanatics in India portray this as something different and are hell-bent upon destroying this special status of the state for their petty political gains and forcible control of the state," he said.
He said these "chauvinist forces and religious fanatics" in 1947 massacred lakhs of Muslims in Jammu with impunity and "changed the demography of Jammu city completely."
"The properties of those massacred or driven out forcefully to Azad Kashmir were confiscated and the when state assembly in 1982 passed a resolution regarding those people, New Delhi opposed and halted the resolution. The condemnable conspiracies hatched at the behest of RSS and its allies under the garb of religion will be opposed tooth and nail. We will fight these conspiracies and won't allow anyone to play with our identity," he said.
Malik said "as humans we also share the pain of refugees from West Pakistan. But if New Delhi, its Parliament and political parties are concerned about them, why don't they settle them permanently in states like Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh? The refugees from West Pakistan are in every respect citizens of India. They are not part of Jammu & Kashmir and will never be so in future. Granting them permanent citizenship of Jammu & Kashmir and right to vote are part of a conspiracy to destroy the existing social fabric of the state, change its demography and destroy its majority Muslim status," he said.
On recent visit of US president Barack Obama to New Delhi, Malik said Obama "gave preference to bilateral and trade ties with India than press for resolution of Kashmir."
"When Obama became the US president, oppressed nations like Jammu and Kashmir and Palestine assumed he will positively break the ice and resolve these disputes. This assumption was because of Obama's claims of being a follower of great Martin Luther King Jr. During his election campaign, Obama made promises to make efforts for resolution of these issues. But today especially after his visit to India, instead of showing statesmanship, he turned into a trader who only wanted to secure economic benefits for his big companies and provide his capitalists a chance to explore the huge Indian market," he said.
Malik said no sane person can oppose trade, commerce, economic activities and bilateral pacts between nations as these are right of every nation. "But when these activities become source of misery for oppressed nations, when these become a free license for further oppression and undermining suppressed nations, every person who believes in freedom of humans and follows ideologies based on peaceful coexistence will raise his or her voice against these activities," he said.
He said the international community including US and Indian leadership know that economic progress and enhance in trade and commerce is subservient to peace and stability and in South Asia. "Jammu & Kashmir issue is a glaring reality and without its resolution, nobody can dream of peace and stability. If we intend to promote economy and trade we will have to address issues that cause disturbance to peace. Indian and American leaders claim of following Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi but they should know that personalities like Jinnah, Gandhi and Luther are respected for being upright, steadfast for humanity and not putting weaker nations and people in jeopardy for their petty economic benefits," he said.