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Listen to our ‘Mann Ki Baat’, Mirwaiz tells PM Modi day before his visit

Mirwaiz wanted the cessation of security operations, which the Centre announced for the holy month of Ramzan, to be made a permanent feature and be followed by demilitarisation before the final resolution of Kashmir issue.

india Updated: May 18, 2018 19:46 IST
Ashiq Hussain
Ashiq Hussain
Hindustan Times, Srinagar
Mann Ki Baat,Narendra Modi,Mirwaiz Umar Farooq
Senior separatist leader and cleric Mirwaiz Umar Farooq (C) along with is supporters march down a street during a protest in Srinagar, India, 07 May 2017.(HT Photo)

Moderate separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq invoked Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s monthly radio address on Friday and asked him to allow Kashmiris to carry out a peaceful protest march during his visit on Saturday and listen to “our Mann Ki Baat”.

Mirwaiz wanted the cessation of security operations, which the Centre announced for the holy month of Ramzan, to be made a permanent feature and be followed by demilitarisation before the final resolution of Kashmir issue.

“Mr Modi, all have been listening to your ‘Mann ki baat’ for years now. As you come here tomorrow, allow us Kashmiris to peacefully gather at Lal Chowk so that you hear our ‘Mann ki baat’! It’s just three words — Resolve Kashmir Dispute. @narendramodi,” he said in a tweet.

The protest march was called by separatist leaders, including Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Yasin Malik, to register their demand for “freedom for which we have been sacrificing our lives for the past 70 years”.

Authorities have been confining separatists to their homes or lodging them in jails whenever they call such protest rallies.

Modi is scheduled to visit Kashmir on Saturday and inaugurate projects in the state.

Addressing the Jamia Masjid in Srinagar earlier in the day, Mirwaiz said their call for protest march to Lal Chowk on Saturday and to the Eidgah graveyard on Monday was a test for both the central and the state government on their claims of being the world’s best democracy.

Instead of addressing gatherings, the marchers would hold placards to convey their messages, he said, stressing that they should be allowed to hold the rallies.

Modi’s visit comes two days after Centre asked security forces in Jammu and Kashmir not to launch operations during Ramzan to help Muslims observe the holy month peacefully.

Mirwaiz said that if the government is sincere, they should make the ‘Ramzan ceasefire’ permanent.

“… Goodwill gestures or CBMs (confidence building measures) cannot be meant for a month alone, but have to be long term and meaningful. If the government of India really means business, it must look at real CBMs like demilitarisation and repealing the draconian AFSPA, PSA, and DAA,” he said.

“These measures must be followed by the start of a process wherein all the three parties to the dispute — India, Pakistan and the people of Kashmir — come together to hammer out a solution acceptable to all in keeping with the will and aspirations of the key party — the people of J&K,” he said.

On Thursday, the separatists had termed the Centre’s ceasefire announcement a ‘cruel joke’.

“… Indian authorities (should) shun arrogance and accept Kashmir as a dispute. Declaration of one month’s truce and sticking to a loud denial to solve the Kashmir dispute is a mere hypocrisy. It is highly illogical and unfortunate to offer relaxations in killings for one month and then restart it with impunity,” they had said in a joint statement.

First Published: May 18, 2018 19:46 IST