We are here to enrich our knowledge, says Congressman Aiyar about his Kashmir visit

“I requested the delegation to make people of India aware about the ground realities of Kashmir”

Srinagar: Veteran Indian politician, Mani Shankar Aiyar, on Thursday said that he will be writing about Kashmir situation once he returns to New Delhi.

“We are not any political delegation,” Aiyar told media after leading a five-member delegation to meet Hurriyat Conference (M) chief.

“We have come to listen to views of everyone,” Aiyar said.

Aiyar led a delegation of five people including O P Shah, Kapil Kak, Vinod Sharma and other civil society activists and met Mirwaiz Umar Farooq at his Nigeen residence this morning.

Referring to participation of a little known Hurriyat Conference activist, A M Banday, in a round table conference a few days ago in Srinagar, Aiyar said, “we felt that we can meet other (resistance) leaders as well.”

“There was a need to listen to Mirwaiz Umar and we did it,” he asserted.

He told reporters that he and his delegation colleagues do not represent government. “We have only one medium, which is pen, and we shall be writing about our meetings (in Kashmir) from Delhi,” he said.

On his meeting with Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, he said, “he frankly discussed the issues and we are thankful.”

He asserted, “we have come for ourselves, we have come to enrich our knowledge (about Kashmir), and it is moving forward in a good manner.”

Aiyar led delegation is scheduled to meet Hurriyat patriarch Syed Ali Geelani at 4 in the evening at his fortified Hyderpora residence where Geelani is under house detention since 2010.

Speaking to media after the meeting, Mirwaiz said, “the current political situation was threadbare discussed.”

“Indian state is handling Kashmir and its people with military approach,” he told the delegation. “The repeated bans, restrictions, curfew, house arrests, ban on Namaz, rallies everything came up in the discussion as J&K has been tuned in to a police state.”

He said that India is snatching basic rights of Kashmiris “through use of force”.

“I requested the delegation to make people of India aware about the ground realities of Kashmir,” he said while referring to few Indian TV channels – which he did not name – for ‘not showing the true picture’ of Kashmir.

“Kashmir is a political issue wherein India, Pakistan and people of Kashmir are involved,” he said, “aspirations of Kashmiris can’t be suppressed; it is genuine issue and people have every right to be on roads.”

He said that it was fourth generation of Kashmiris on roads since 1947. “And military approach can’t suppress our aspirations,” he maintained.

He said that Hurriyat Conference was never averse to any initiative by India or Pakistan on Kashmir. “APHC will support it,” he added. “Kashmir is not an issue of paani (water), bijli (electricity), sadak (road) but a political one.”

Referring to Indian army using human shields in Kashmir and General Bipin Rawat awarding the accused Major, Mirwaiz said, “I shared my concerns with the delegation and told them that statements like: ‘everything is fair in love and war’ only aggravate the situation.”

It may be noted that BJP’s J&K point man, Ram Madhav, while reacting to use of human shield in Kashmir had tweeted: everything is fair in love and war.

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