I don’t seek Azadi or Pakistan but Right to Self Determination: Er Rasheed

Lawmaker says observing ‘State Flag day’ imperative to fail plans of followers of Shyama Prasad Mukherjee

Srinagar: Asserting that he was agent of his “own conscience”, independent lawmaker, Er Rasheed on Wednesday, observed ‘State Flag day of Jammu and Kashmir’ by hoisting the State Flag in Srinagar.

Slamming New Delhi for its denial of the ground realities in Kashmir, the civil engineer turned pro-India politician who represents Langate constituency in J&K Legislature, Rasheed said, “The military tactics cannot scare the common Kashmiris who have been laying their lives for right to self determination.”

Rasheed hoisted the State Flag in a public park in Jawahar Nagar. J&K is the only state in the union of the India which has its own constitution and a flag.

Addressing a gathering of almost fifteen hundred people who had come from across Kashmir, Rasheed trained his guns at Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying New Delhi is considering Kashmiris as their enemies.

“We are friends of India but our destiny is exercise of right to self determination across the divided Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.

“Kashmir is neither Atoot Ang (integral part) of India nor is it Shah Rug (jugular vein) of Pakistan,” he told the gathering.

Rasheed formed a political party – Awami Ittehad Party (AIP) in 2012 – and it was in 2014 that he decided to observe National day of Kashmir.

In his over 30 minute’s speech, Rasheed asserted that the motive behind the celebration of J&K’s national day was to “fail plans of followers of Shyama Prasad Mukherjee”.

“We will never allow those to succeed who have been raising the slogan of Ek Pradhan, Ek Vidhan aur Ek Nishan.”

Lawmaker Er Rasheed after hoisting J&K State Flag in a public park in Jawahar Nagar area of Srinagar on June 07, 2017. (FPK Photo)

Mukherjee, the ideologue of right wing Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) fought to erode the 370 article in Indian constitution to end the special status of J&K in the Indian Union.

He died in custody in Jammu when he tried to enter the territory of J&K without permit in 1953. During those days, anyone from union of India had to apply for a resident permit before coming to J&K.

Emphasizing that the solution of Kashmir Issue lies in plebiscite, Rasheed – amid support from his party activists – roared at New Delhi saying, “You have lost the war.”

“Your media runs prime time shows that (Syed Ali) Geelani has been exposed,” he said referring to the raids by the sleuths of National Investigation Agency in Srinagar, Jammu, New Delhi and NCR to investigate the flow of alleged Hawala money from Pakistan.

“If Geelani has been exposed, I challenge New Delhi to free the Hurriyat Conference chief and we will see who is who,” he said.

Hurriyat patriarch Geelani is under house detention since most of time from 2010. He has not even been allowed to move out of his home for mandatory Friday or Eid prayers. In last six years, he has only been allowed to move to Delhi for medical checkups.

“You do not allow me to visit Chenab Valley, how will you allow Geelani to move (freely),” he said criticising the NDA regime for caging pro-freedom leadership.

Maintaining that he was not an advocate of Hurriyat Conference, Rasheed, however, strongly asserted that the Hurriyat Conference leadership represented the aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

“Hurriyat (Conference) jaisi bhi hai, who hamari hai,” he said amid applause from his activists.

But, he added, “This (freedom) movement does not belong to a single person.”

“It is a peoples movement and people have given blood for it and Hurriyat Conference should keep this thing in mind.” He said that five members of his extended family sacrificed their lives for the “cause”.

Referring to the incident involving a Major rank officer of India Army who used a weaver in Budgam as human Shield on April 09, Rasheed said, “There is no comparison between General Dyer and the actions of Indian army in Kashmir.”

“There is only a single incident for which the British general is being castigated and that is Jallianwala Bagh massacre of Punjabi Sikhs but General Dyer did not kill innocents of Kashmir like what Indian Army did. There is no incident like Kunan, Nadihal fake encounter, Tufail Mattoo and others in the actions of Gen Dyer,” he said.

“I was asked by some people about my reaction to an article written by a respected Indian about human shield and Indian army’s award to Major Gogoi,” he said, “I told them that the soul of Gen Dyer would be terrified if it comes to know about Indian army’s actions in Kashmir.”

Soldiers of Indian Army raped at least thirty women between the age group of 8 and 80 during the intervening night of 23 and 24 February in 1994 in Kunan village of Kupwara district.

In a fake encounter, the soldiers of Indian army killed three civilians in forest along Line of Control (LoC) claiming they were militants who later turned to be residents of Nadihal Baramulla.

On Dialogue

According to the stage manager, 1200 chairs were set for the audience which mostly included AIP workers on June 07, 2017 when Er Rasheed hoisted J&K State Flag in Jawahar Nagar area of Srinagar. (FPK Photo)

Addressing New Delhi that Kashmiris are not beggars who were ready for any kind of dialogue, Rasheed, however ridiculed the NDA government saying its leaders had in past spoken to the Hurriyat Conference leadership.

“Now Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik are being called as terrorists,” he said referring to round the clock TV debates on Kashmir by several Delhi and Mumbai based news channels.

“If holding dialogue (with Hurriyat Conference) is part of terror then Dr Manmohan Singh is the biggest terrorist who held talks with Mirwaiz; then L K Advani is the biggest of all terrorists who held dialogue with Muhammad Yasin Malik,” he said ridiculing the stance of Modi led government vis-à-vis Kashmir.

Asking people not to fall in to the trap of “Modi charisma”, he said, “Modi even ditched Advani – the BJP veteran – how can he own you (Kashmiris).”

Referring to the statement of Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat, that those Kashmiris helping militants escape during encounters were over ground workers, Rasheed likened this statement to Advani and Manmohan Singh.

“Then the duo is the strongest OGWs of Hurriyat (Conference).”

He said that those raising hue and cry that dialogue should be held want to “kill time and nothing else”.

Holding Delhi responsible of every pint of blood spilled in Kashmir, Rasheed said, “Umar Fayaz was killed, I was hurt. He was our own, a Kashmiri. But it is because of Delhi’s policy that Kashmiris are dying.”

Lashing out at Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, he said, “This lady has turned out to be Nagpur ki Naagin.”

“When CM of Tamil Nadu can come out in protest to safeguard interests of his people, why cannot Mehbooba when our people were being killed last year,” he asked.

On Student Protests

“I lament those people who begged in 2016 to open schools (during the anti-India uprising) and the same people are closing the same schools for the fear that world will come to know the reality of Kashmir,” he said referring to the statements of PDP led government wherein its members had criticised the resistance leadership for closing schools last year.

On NIA Raids

Rasheed said that he is not an enemy of Hurriyat Conference nor their friend. “Let me be clear,” he told the audience, “I do not seek Azaadi nor (merger with) Pakistan, only thing I strive for is right to self determination.”

However, he asked the Hurriyat Conference leadership: “When people from Pakistan come here, die for our cause then why can’t they send money?”

Accusing the Hurriyat Conference leadership of succumbing to the “tactics of Delhi”, he asked them when don’t they accept the Constitution, Judiciary nor polity of India, “Why did you rush to Delhi to depose before NIA?”

“Why didn’t you resist,” he asked the Hurriyat Conference leadership. “People would have come to know that you (Hurriyat Conference) are people with some substance.”

NIA raided at least twenty eight places in J&K, Delhi and NCR in search of Hawala money allegedly used by the members of Hurriyat Conference. The raids started during wee hours on June 3rd 2017 and spread to many places.

The residences of several Hurriyat Conference and Kashmiri businessmen were raided and around 1.5 crore of cash recovered besides laptops, cell phones and other documents which included housing loan documents.

“Keep one thing in mind,” he addressed the Hurriyat Conference leaders, “Don’t forget the sentiments of people.”

Slamming chief of his faction of Peoples Conference and minister in J&K government from BJP, Sajad Gani Lone, “This man, who has said that Modi is his elder brother, at one point of time addressed Geelani as his fatherly figure.”

Political Process

Hitting hard at New Delhi and PDP led coalition governments, Rasheed said, “It is farce”.

“When they do not allow single Rasheed to properly function in (J&K Legislative) Assembly how will they allow Hurriyat leadership to raise Kashmir Issue inside the house,” he ridiculed while referring to statements of pro-India politicians and BJP leaders that Hurriyat Conference should join the fray and fight elections and then talk about Kashmir.

He said that if seeking implementation of plebiscite in united Jammu and Kashmir was crime, then the first Prime Minister of India was the first person to commit it.

“Pt Jawaharlal Lal Nehru promised Kashmiris that they will be given a chance to decide their future,” he said.

At the time of taking oath, an MLA promises to represent aspirations of his people. “The aspirations of my people are right to self determination and I represent them,” he said to a thumping applause from his party workers.

“Until people of J&K are given a chance to exercise Right to Self Determination, we will strive to safeguard the special constitutional provisions guaranteed to J&K in Indian Union,” he said.

When “Azad” Kashmir can have its own flag, he said, “Why cannot this part of Kashmir?

“We appeal the J&K High Court Chief Justice to take cognizance of this matter and raise the state flag alongside Indian national flag in the premises of courts in J&K,” he said.

Accusing Delhi of ‘self interests’, Rasheed said, “When there is a war cry against Pakistan, India is reminded of Indus Water Treaty (IWT). Where were you (Delhi) until last year? You have been exploiting our resources.”

On Jammu and Kashmir Police

“You are part of the same society,” he said addressing the cops of the state armed forces. “We are hurt when we see militants entering your homes but no one gives you right to threaten and beat the families of militants in Kashmir.”

“You need to change your behaviour,” he told the JKP cops present on the occasion.

Interestingly, a cop even snapped the lines of Public addressing system being used by Rasheed.

It may be noted that to hold a function in Kashmir, its mandatory to seek permission from Deputy Commissioners. However, spokesperson of AIP, Inam ul Nabi told the FreePressKashmir that they had not sought any such permission.

“Mr DC, are you pained why I did not seek permission from you to hold this program,” Rasheed said addressing the DC Srinagar. “You should know your worth as Indian state sees you nothing more than as a Chowkidar.”

At the start of the event, several police officials came and asked about the permission but they later returned after they talked to Rasheed and his PRO.

Political Ambitions

“Today,” he said, “this gathering has more people from different parts of Kashmir than my assembly constituency – Langate.”

Rasheed claimed that many people from Srinagar, Kulgam, Pulwama, Shopian are present in the audience.

As the program started, scores of uniform wearing students entered the venue and MLA Rasheed asked people to welcome them.

“I had told these students to attend classes instead of coming here but they were adamant,” he said.

Among the speakers was a Sikh youth leader who demanded that the status of state flag and constitution be restored.

“Next year,” Rasheed said, “This gathering will have representation from Kashmiri Pandits as well.”

Rasheed concluded his speech with the hoisting of flag while national anthem of J&K was played. “Attention, maintain discipline,” he told the audience and asked them to set the national anthem as to set “hello tunes” on their hand sets.

As people started moving out, the voters of Rasheed made a beeline after Inam – MLA Langate’s PRO.

“My father has been detained by police this morning, please get him freed,” one voter said.

Another student from Kulgam college came and said: “Please talk to SP, we are being harassed.” The PRO assures action saying that “nobody would touch them”.

A middle aged man from Nowpora Srinagar has water issue. “Get us a water connection,” he asked, “do you have any alternate water pipe supplying water to your area?” Inam asked him.

“Yes,” he replied. “Don’t’ worry, I will raise your issue with Exen (executive Engineer) concerned.”

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