Mirwaiz backs out of dialogue
Moderate Hurriyat Conference leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Saturday refused to participate in the forthcoming dialogue process with the Centre unless it has “something concrete to offer”. Toufiq Rashid reports.india Updated: Feb 07, 2010 00:38 IST
Moderate Hurriyat Conference leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Saturday refused to participate in the forthcoming dialogue process with the Centre unless it has “something concrete to offer”.
The Mirwaiz, the only separatist leader to openly support the dialogue process — in spite of strong resistance both from within his camp and from hardliners led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani — said, “We can’t lose our credibility.”
The credibility crisis was apparently triggered by the killing of two teenage boys, Wamiq Farooq and Zahid Farooq. While the first death on January 31 resulted from a teargas shell hit, the cause of the second death on Friday is still unresolved.
The locals claimed that 16-year-old Zahid was killed by security personnel while he was playing cricket with his friends. But the establishment denied any responsibility, saying there were no security forces present in the area at that time.
The Mirwaiz, who has been under house arrest for the last two days, told Hindustan Times on the phone: “It’s time to call a spade a spade. Two teenage boys have been killed without a reason. This can’t be tolerated.”
“New Delhi is pushing the situation back to the 1990s. With restrictions, police excesses and daily deaths, the situation has changed. The cycle of violence can resume any time,” he said.
On the stone-pelting masked men holding a press conference in Srinagar, saying they refused to accept the Mirwaiz and Geelani as the ‘ultimate’ voice of Kashmir, the Mirwaiz said, “There is anger among the youth, and it is justified.”