Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Friday steered clear of an outright rejection or a clear-cut approval of New Delhi's latest offer of bilateral talks, saying the leadership would welcome the fresh stance only if it was the "change of policy (about Kashmir) rather than the change of circumstances." He also asserted that the government of India's softened stance on Kashmir was the result of youths' robust resistance against the "ultimate repression".
Speaking to the Friday congregation at historic Jamia Masjid, Mirwaiz said the leadership was not in a hurry and would respond only after threadbare deliberations over the latest development.
He, however, cautiously welcomed union home minister Rajnath Singh's Thursday remark in which he had expressed concern for the future of Kashmiri youth.
Without naming the home minister, Mirwaiz said, "if Delhi really cares for our children and young and it's because of change in the policy rather than the change of circumstances, then it's a human gesture and we welcome it. The best way to resolve issues is to rise above the fixed positions and through the ambit of humanity and justice."
Terming government of India's soft posturing as the "biggest feat" which, he said, Kashmiri youth had achieved by resisting India's military might continuously for four years. He said the "pro-India politicians" keep claiming that they persuaded Indian leadership for nonmilitary approach "but it is a hollow claim." The change of heart at New Delhi, Mirwaiz asserted, was due to the remarkable sacrifices and phenomenal resistance by the youth on ground.
"Delhi is showing flexibility today just because the rock solid resilience shown by Kashmiri youth against the ultimate repression and military might was phenomenal. For past four years, our youth have been brutally killed, harassed, tortured, blinded and maimed, but still they stood against the tyranny without surrendering their commitment." Mirwaiz, who is one of three leaders of Joint Resistance Leadership, took offence to claims by mainstream political groups which seek credit for "persuading New Delhi for a political outreach in Kashmir."
Without a direct reference to Prime Minister Modi, Mirwaiz said people here suffered multi-pronged assault. "Article 370, and Article 35 A were challenged in courts, Goods and Services Tax (GST) was implemented in defiance of special status and laws pushing of SARFESAI act. Separate settlements for certain communities on Israeli pattern of settlements were planned. Viscous and negative propaganda on Kashmir to cripple economy by dissuading outsiders to come here was part of the well conceived plan. Frequent arrest and detention of pro-freedom leadership and the NIA harassment was also part of the plan to force the resistance camp into a submission." He accused the mainstream politicians of playing a "buffer" for execution of these "anti-people moves".
Avoiding a direct reference to Prime Minister Modi, Mirwaiz said people in Kashmir had been facing renewed tactics of suppression for past three decades. "During these four years a belligerent policy was adopted to force Kashmiris into submission and the pro-India politicians have presided over the operations against Kashmiris."
Holding New Delhi's militaristic policy in Kashmir responsible for educated young men resorting to armed resistance, Mirwaiz said, "Our youths' connect with the idea of self-determination is visible on ground. They have been resisting against the repressive measures on all platforms be that on streets or in their educational institutions or participating in funerals of martyrs or the cyber world or in social media."
He said the youth movement has "unnerved Delhi" and expressed delight " for whatever reason ,if good sense has prevailed upon Indian leadership and they have realized the futility of using force on people in this David versus Goliath, Justice versus occupation, and principles versus opportunism battle".
Recalling former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's famous remark in which he had said Kashmir issue was not about economic packages or development, Mirwaiz said, the present regime in Delhi seems to have undone Vajpayee's Kashmir policy."