Srinagar : Soon after Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman, Syed Ali Geelani was not allowed to address a press conference at his residence, the octogenarian separatist leader issued text of his presser on Friday as follows:
My Dear Countrymen! Assalam-u-Alaikum Wa Rehmatullahi Wabarakata hu The current phase of the freedom struggle against India has so unnerved the occupier and its local stooges that they have resorted to vilest means to suppress the struggle. While they are killing people on the streets and arresting them under their draconian laws, we have learnt that they have formulated a kill list, whereby they have identified pro-freedom leaders and activists and those civil society members, business leaders, government employees and journalists, who have not succumbed to their machinations. This is a very serious issue and we warn the occupier and their local stooges that any such misadventure will have serious repercussions. The frustration of our occupier is understandable because between us and our freedom stand half a million Indian guns only. Never before have we been so close to freedom with such clarity as we are now. We have reached this stage because the people of Jammu and Kashmir have not only resisted the brute military occupation of India with exemplary courage and sacrifices but also repeatedly shown that the people would not be defeated.
This present uprising is a continuation of our long struggle for freedom from India. Shortly after Commander Burhan’s martyrdom, in multitudes our young and old, men and women came out from their homes, poured onto the streets and marched towards Tral to pay homage to our beloved Burhan and the two other martyrs. Since then, during the past two months there is no village and no town where people have not made it abundantly clear again that the only relationship between India and Kashmir is that of the occupier and the occupied and between the two the smokescreen that India had created here in the form of Abdullahs, Muftis, Lones and the sundry has fallen. We have always been saying that these collaborators are mere stooges of India and today it is crystal clear that their only task is to strengthen the Indian occupation of J&K and provide shameless justifications for cold-blooded murder, maiming and blinding of our people. The current phase of the freedom struggle has provided a powerful push towards our goal of freedom, which is very much in sight. The defeat of our enemy and the fact of our imminent victory are very much evident in the frustrated talk in their parliament, institutions of power and in the news studios of their fascist media. For the past 70 years, India has created a massive infrastructure of military occupation and other instruments of control but the last two months have shown that our will to fight for freedom is stronger than all their evil machinations. This is the time to remember the efforts and sacrifices of those who nurtured this freedom movement through their blood, beloved ones and hard work since 1947 in general and from 1989 in particular. In 1990 when people rose against the military control of India, the entire world was shaken off the slumber; Jammu Kashmir attracted an unprecedented focus from the International community. Then a long reign of terror was unleashed by the Indian state, which included scores of massacres, rapes, murders and killings, torture and arson. There was a stage when Indian state thought that the brutal repression could break the resolve of the people of Kashmir. They brought upon us devastation and thought that we will give up our struggle for freedom. But our people and Mujahedeen offered great sacrifices to keep the flame of freedom alive and the fact that India made no discrimination in its extreme response between armed men and the civilian population. The veterans of the Freedom movement, along with the new generation, gathered themselves again and resisted the Indian occupation forces in every available space. Through the next two decades, even though India martyred a hundred thousand of our people including women and children, disappeared more than ten thousand, and made into orphans, widows and half widows tens of thousands of our people, displaced large populations, and tortured, maimed, imprisoned countless of us, the people of J&K persisted in their struggle for freedom. We refused to surrender and kept alive the flame of freedom in our souls. Then came the peoples’ uprisings of 2008, 2009, 2010 and now 2016. This spirit for the struggle for freedom has been seamlessly passed on to the next generation despite great disadvantages. Our occupier has the world’s third largest army. It has the world’s largest paramilitary force, most of which is stationed in Kashmir. It is the world’s fifth largest economy. We are a people’s resistance. We have no resources. We have no army. We have no media. But our greatest strength is our truth, unity and our determination to free ourselves from the yoke of this evil occupation. The greatest sign of our victory is that the mighty army of our occupier has to shoot dead middle-aged women, a 21-year-old girl and beat to death a teacher. If after 70 years of military control, a soldier has to kill an unarmed woman and a schoolboy with a stone in his hand to forcibly keep Kashmir under Indian control, what bigger proof do we need of who has been defeated and who is victorious? The bullets of Indian soldiers are merely the symbols of their cowardice. No fight is possible without a people willing to sacrifice their lives and livelihoods. Our people have been martyred and maimed.
Our children languish in their prisons, bravely suffering their tortures. These cowards have blinded our children. We closed our businesses and shuttered our shops. Our labourers, masons, transporters, shikarawallas, ponywallas, carpenters, weavers and others are at the forefront of the struggle, sacrificing their livelihoods. This is the struggle of every soul—-farmers, doctors, teachers, school children and government employees. These sacrifices are the building blocks of the free nation we are destined to become. The way people helped each other and remained united during this phase of freedom struggle is a sign that we have already started living as a free people. From the streets to the leadership we are all united in our freedom struggle against India and no matter whether the Indian occupying forces keep us under curfews or arrest us in prisons or in our homes, they will never succeed in severing the cord that joins us in our collective yearning for our freedom. We are and we must stay united; our unity is the death of our enemy. During this uprising, Pakistan has once again proved that they are our friends and well-wishers. Pakistan and its people shared our pain and raised their voice in our support. We are happy that at a time when the people of Jammu and Kashmir have once again risen for their freedom, Pakistan and its people have taken an ethical stand to support our struggle morally, politically and diplomatically. We are also thankful to several other countries like China, Norway, Saudi Arabia, New Zealand, Iran and to the Organization of Islamic countries (OIC) for expressing concern over the brutal repression by India in Kashmir. We are also thankful to Turkey for its unambiguous support to our just struggle for freedom from Indian occupation. There was a time when the Kashmiri people would need someone else to read and write their letters. Our stories of pain and longing for freedom would almost always be distorted by the journalists and writers who came from India to take note of our lives and struggles against the Indian occupation. While there are a few honorable exceptions, the dominant discourse created by the Indian media and writers continues to be based on falsehoods aimed at dehumanizing us and labeling our just struggle as terrorism. The Indian media, by and large, is an extension of the Indian state and performs well the role that has been assigned to it to help keep in place the Indian occupation in Kashmir. But what is heartening to us is that our own people are writing with complete clarity of thought and immense courage to portray the truthful picture of our struggle. Our own writers are narrating the horrors that our people are suffering at the hands of the occupying Indian state, and are giving voice to the collective aspirations of the people for freedom. It is because of that writing that the International press too has cut through the lies of India and Indian media to see the truth on Kashmir’s streets and in its hospitals and prisons. We are thankful to the International press for reporting honestly and humanely about an occupation that is a shame to human values. While the people of Jammu and Kashmir stand united in their collective pursuit for freedom, we once again appeal to the handful of collaborators from among our own to return and join the march of freedom. In the depth of their hearts, these collaborators know fully well that they are on the wrong side of truth and history, and that for small material gains they have become tools for the foreign military occupation of their own land and people and are risking their souls for eternal damnation. And for what? Lure of money and a false sense of power from the fascist Hindu forces, who want to enforce a demographic change on our land, obliterate our identity as Muslims, and annihilate us as people. There still is time for them to make amends and join the honorable struggle for freedom and stand shoulder to shoulder with their own people who fight not only for themselves and the present generation but also for the generations to come. We also appeal specifically to those who, merely to earn a livelihood, have joined our occupier and tormentor, thinking that they are only doing a job for the salary they are paid every month. Allah will never let you and your families suffer and starve if you are on the path of truth and righteousness. But if you continue to remain on the side of occupying State, killing and maiming your own people, no salary will be enough to cure the rot that Allah will send in your hearts and lives. We are sure that you would come to the side of truth, one day. We hope that it is sooner than later. We need to consolidate on this new phase of our struggle and make resistance a way of our living. Our people have sacrificed their lives and livelihoods and given our resistance a clear vision of what our priorities and responsibilities must be to ourselves. The struggle for freedom is a continuous process and we must not lose the clarity of the present moment to the slumber of the so-called normalcy. Rather, we need to make this clarity as the guiding light for the future course of our resistance. The current phase of the freedom struggle is a powerful push towards our decisive march of freedom from India.
Immediately, we need to identify those who have suffered the most at the most basic levels, a mohalla and a village level. I again appeal for setting up Bait-ul-Maal in every mohalla and village. We should constantly monitor the condition of those who have been injured and work for their long-term rehabilitation. We must own our martyrs and help their families in every possible manner and not let them become prey to the exploitative politics of Indian stooges here.
Shaken by our resolve and our united struggle for freedom, India has once again started the farce of engagement that it time and again has used to divert attention from the reality on the ground here. They will come again to ask – what do we want. They know the answer to that question. We want freedom.