Moderate All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who was allowed to pray at historic Jamia Masjid after six weeks on Friday, rejected Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s autonomy proposal as solution to the Kashmir problem.
“Kashmir does not need a job or economic package but its struggle is for azaadi (freedom). And autonomy is not acceptable to us. The Kashmir problem either has to be addressed as per the UN resolution or in a phased manner one can grant people the right to self-determination,” said the Mirwaiz, while addressing thousands of devotees who marched towards the historic mosque to perform Friday prayers.
The authorities allowed the Mirwaiz to lead Friday prayers after six weeks. Security forces were withdrawn from most areas of downtown Srinagar to facilitate the prayers.
“I want to make it clear to the state government that Kashmir is a Muslim-majority place. It’s unacceptable to us that our religious rights are curtailed by not allowing us to offer prayers at the historic Jamia Masjid. It’s unfortunate that every oppressor in Kashmir has tried to close down the mosque as it’s central to Kashmir’s politics,” said the Mirwaiz.
He said there will no peace in Kashmir unless the Hurriyat demands like withdraw troops from civilian areas, withdrawal of black laws like Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and Disturbed Area Act (DAA) and release of political prisoners are not fulfilled.
“I salute and pay tribute to the youth for their sacrifices and also for organising committees to reach out to the needy in the time of crisis,” said the Mirwaiz, who took a procession from Jamia Masjid to Rajouri Kadal while urging participants not to resort to any kind of violence.