November 28, 2010 8:47:01 pm
At the seminar in Kolkata where they again faced protests from the ABVP activists,Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq defended Arundhati Roy,saying she had said nothing to deserve sedition charges. Mirwaiz said Roy had only repeated the historical facts about Kashmir.
I said there was nothing in her comments that was not a historical fact and acknowledged as such by the world, Mirwaiz told The Indian Express from Kolkata at the end of the seminar.
Mirwaiz expressed regret that the public space to accommodate the opposite point of view was shrinking in Kashmir. India prides itself on its democracy but there is little tolerance for other points of view.
Mirwaiz also said Azadi was an overwhelming sentiment in Kashmir but instead of negating it,the political leaders and the people of India should engage it. We say this is our point of view. They can tell this is theirs, Mirwaiz said. But without engaging our point of view and finding a way to address it,the problem is not going to go away.
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Refuting the charges that the separatist struggle in Kashmir was sponsored by Pakistan,Mirwaiz said that recent Kashmir upsurges had shown to the world that Islamabad had little role to play in it. People in India make the mistake of looking at Kashmir through the Pakistan prism which is not true, Mirwaiz said. Kashmir dispute has its own history and an indigenous character.
Mirwaiz said that the seminar at Kolkata was conducted in a civilized manner where even though audience and the panel didnt agree with their views,they gave them a patient hearing. Incidentally,the seminar was also attended by a Kashmir Pandit Prof Surinder Munshi. Besides,the leaders from Congress,CPI(M) and Trinamool Congress also attended.
On their return from Kolkata,the leaders are scheduled to meet some diplomats in New Delhi. We will meet diplomats from some Muslim countries. We will urge the diplomats to use their influence over India for initiation of a process to resolve the issue as per the aspirations of people of Kashmir, Mirwaiz said.
We will also ask them to raise their voice against the human rights violations in the state and the denial of religious freedom, he added.
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