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Stop being in denial, Mirwaiz tells India

Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umer Farooq said today that Kashmir was an international dispute and that the time had come for India to stop being in denial.

india Updated: Sep 20, 2010 23:15 IST

Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umer Farooq said Monday that Kashmir was an international dispute and that the time had come for India to stop being in denial.

"Sitting in Kashmir, we come to the conclusion that the people of India are so ill-informed about Kashmir... Kashmir is an internationally accepted dispute. It is time to call a spade a spade," the Mirwaiz told a group of Indian political leaders who called on him at his residence.

The Mirwaiz suggested the formation of a Kashmir Committee in the Indian and Pakistani parliaments that would exclusively discuss nothing but the decades old Kashmir dispute.

"Let a beginning be made," he said, addressing mainly Communist leader Gurudas Dasgupta.

"Kashmir is an international dispute and it has to be addressed according to the wishes of the people," he said.

He added that the issue of "azadi" (independence) should be addressed by the people and political actors in India.

"We don't want to live in a constant state of fear and state terrorism," he said passionately while displaying photographs of young boys killed by security forces in firing since June 11.

"You cannot force the will (of India) on the (Kashmiri) people. You are seeing the reaction to force," he said, referring to the unending protests in Srinagar and other parts of the Kashmir Valley.

He denied accusations that the Hurriyat members were Pakistani agents. He also emphasized that Kashmiris were not looking for economic sops from New Delhi.

"We are not beggars... We want justice... We don't want jobs," he said. "The voices of dissent in Kashmir are not being recognised by New Delhi. New Delhi is in a constant state of denial."

Dasgupta said while he did not agree with the Hurriyat demand for "azadi", he would raise the issues raised by the Mirwaiz in parliament.

"We are not here to defend any indignity, not to defend any barbarism, not to support any wrong being done (to Kashmiris)," he said. "We represent different political voices. We have never believed you are Pakistani agents. You are equally Indians."