Moderate Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Thursday said Kashmir would observe a shutdown on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to remind him of the "dispute" and demand "a full-fledged peace process" to resolve it.
"The Hurriyat makes a fervent call to resolve the Kashmir issue once and for all. India, Pakistan and the people of Jammu and Kashmir must engage with each other," said the Mirwaiz on the eve of the Prime Minister's scheduled visit to the Kashmir Valley to inaugurate a power project in north Kashmir's Uri area on Friday.
Other separatist groups, including Hardline Hurriyat and the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), have also called for a shutdown.
He asked Modi "to spell out its Kashmir policy to decide whether it is truly serious about resolving the Kashmir issue or not."
Keeping a window of dialogue open, the Mirwaiz said, "There is an urgent need for a solution through a process of political dialogue. If we see any signs of a serious, imaginative and courageous effort to find a solution, Kashmiris will definitely respond with an even greater sense of seriousness, imagination and courage," he added.
Invoking former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's legacy, the Mirwaiz said, "The Modi government should adopt the path of Vajpayee who dreamt and wished to resolve the issue within the ambit of humanity. However, we are yet to see any sign of a clear commitment towards the effective resolution."
He warned that the recent peace overtures initiated by PM Modi and his Pakistan counterpart prime minister Nawaz Sharif "will not move forward till the problem is addressed."
"Instead of using political imagination, we are concerned that the same old militaristic and hegemonic approaches will continue in Kashmir," he said.
The Mirwaiz, also the Valley's head priest, claimed that "fears are gaining ground among Kashmiris over further attempts of domination and threats to our identity", in an oblique reference to granting citizenship to the 1947 West Pakistan refugees and settlement of Kashmir Pandits in exclusive satellite cities.
"The NDA government has been given a strong democratic mandate by people. It must not repeat the mistake of relying on militaristic approaches. We hope that India will recognise the will of Kashmiris and that cannot be suppressed nor can it be wished away," he said.