Syed Ali Shah Geelani , the leading light of separatist leadership leading the current agitation for a “goal” told J K News Today’s Editor Binoo Joshi in an exclusive interview on Wednesday that separatists were all for dialogue but the dialogue without acknowledgement of the hard realities of Kashmir would lead nowhere.
In his first-ever interview in over six months , Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who is in the frontline facing all bricks and bouquets of his ways of leading the agitation , today said that nothing short of the acknowledgement of realism would help in resolving the contentious Kashmir issue. He asked New Delhi to feel what is happening on the ground . “It is the voice of the people, we are just articulating it ,” he said emphatically and ruled out the perception that he or the separatist leadership were opposed to the dialogue .
Why shutdowns are being used as a tool to reinforce your point if the dialogue can lead you to the path of solution?
Geelani : It needs to be understood that these shutdowns which were observed by the people all across Jammu and Kashmir were chosen by the people themselves. We just gave a direction. It was a bubbling lava of the emotions that erupted after July 8 ( the day Hizb-ul-Mujahadeen Commander Burhan Wani was killed). The whole Valley was awash with it,, we just channelized it , gave a direction and that is where our and the peoples’ integral relationship merges for the cause for a goal of self determination . There are U N resolutions, we are asking for our rights , nothing else.
What do you think Delhi should do to make the dialogue meaningful in your view?
Geelani: The only requirement is that the Government of India should see, feel and realize the hard reality in Kashmir. It should hear the voice of the people, what they want . Once that hard reality – that Kashmir is a dispute- the things would start moving in direction. This drum beat of “ Kashmir an integral part” has long drowned under the echoes of Kashmiri sentiments by the people of all age groups- from children to elderly, men, women alike. The Government of India’s offers of unconditional talks are not in fact unconditional. They (GOI) should accept the fact that a portion of Kashmir is with Pakistan. We are ready for talks if Government of India accepts that Kashmir is a dispute and accept other hard realities associated with it.
Do you think this is the only way out?
Geelani : Yes . How many times bilateral dialogue and agreements have been signed between Delhi and Islamabad , and , Delhi and Srinagar. What happened . Has the problem been solved. It remains where it was . There is resentment against the Delhi rule via military oppression and via the puppet governments.
It is a matter of record that there are more than 150 instances of dialogue on Kashmir , but why isn’t the problem getting resolved. Delhi should wake up to realities and work accordingly. The footfalls of the military boots will only inflame the passions further.
Are you hopeful that the sufferings of the people would help you to achieve your goal?
Geelani: Well, there is no struggle without some amount of suffering. The people always suffer for the larger goal. Kashmiris have shown that they have the courage to do so. These over five-months should be more than sufficient proof of our determination. These demonstrations by people are outcome of their strong emotion. We are continuing and will continue till our “ maksad” ( goal) is achieved. In thee five months people have suffered but they have given expression to their anger against barbarism and imperialism of governments. People come out in thousands to protests despite killing of about 100 demonstrators, 250 affected by pellets, thousands injured and thousands behind bars.