The Hurriyat Conference has asked the government of India to stop the use of pellet guns, release all political prisoners and Kashmiri youths from jail, and involve the leadership of Kashmir and Pakistan in talks if it wants to resolve the Kashmir issue. “We want to tell the Government of India that this 70-year-old Kashmir issue cannot be solved in one day,” said Devinder Singh Behal, a confidant of Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, at a gathering to mourn the death of a militant in Pulwama.
Behal was arrested by the NIA in Jammu in July following raids at his Bakshi Nagar residence in connection with the probe into the funding of terror activity in the Valley.
A video shot at the gathering shows Behal saying that he has been sent by Geelani to assure the grieving family that the organisation and the people of state are with them. “We are with you and will continue to be with you in future,” he said, adding that whatever the Hurriyat does will be for its own people.
Referring to the Centre’s appointment of Dineshwar Sharma to carry out dialogue with stakeholders in Jammu and Kashmir, Behal said, “And the second big thing, as you all know about the initiation of peace process by the Government of India, we want to say that this 70-year-old Kashmir issue is not a matter that can be solved in just a day. We want to tell the Government of India that if it wants to solve the issue in right earnest, it will have to first ban the use of pellet guns. Secondly, it shall release all the political prisoners and Kashmiri youths lodged in jails, and thirdly it shall remove bunkers set up in Srinagar town, villages and all places in the Valley. Thereafter, it will have to agree on involving the leadership of Kashmir and Pakistan in the dialogue process.”
He continued, “Until Pakistan and the leadership of Kashmir are involved in the talks, the Kashmir issue will never be solved.”
Behal also appealed to civil society in India to visit Kashmir to see for themselves what was happening. “You visit all the places and see that youths who leave their homes in the morning do not have any guarantee of their return in the evening,” he said.