Alternatives to Hartal only if we are allowed to meet: Shah

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Srinagar, Jan 04: Secretary General of Hurriyat Conference (G) and Chairman Democratic Freedom Party (DFP), Shabir Shah, on Wednesday said that the joint Hurriyat leadership has alternatives to hartal but they could only be explored if the leaders are allowed to meet.
Replying to a question during a press conference at his Sanat Nagar residence here, Shah, who was released a few days ago after nearly six months of detention, said that exploring alternatives required the pro-freedom camp to sit together and deliberate.
“However, it is not being allowed by the government,” he said.
“We have other options as well; hartal is one of the options. But we couldn’t meet Syed Ali Shah Geelani Sahab due to the curbs being imposed by authorities on our movement. The united Hurriyat needs to sit together and hold deliberations to devise both long and short term strategies for raising awareness about Kashmir issue at the international level,” he said.
“We owe a lot to our people, who sacrificed their income and lives for freedom movement and supported us whole-heartedly. Now it is our duty to carry their voices to the entire world,” he added.
Shah asked the separatist camp to unite formally under a single banner and through permanent unity in order to “safeguard the sacrifices rendered by people”.
“It has been my long cherished dream to see the whole resistance leadership on a single platform and under a single leader. We have rendered innumerous sacrifices, which need to be safeguarded by resisting the Indian occupational rule in a unified manner. Almighty Allah has given us a golden chance of forging unity,” he said.
The Hurriyat (G) Secretary General appealed people to “adopt” the pellet victims who lost their vision during the unrest.
The rehabilitation of pellet victims, he said, was a moral responsibility of the pro-freedom leadership in particular and the people in general.
“The fate of the children who were injured and maimed by bullets and pellets in the recent months is our mutual concern and we cannot leave them at the mercy of the situation. As such, we should work towards their rehabilitation in a unified manner and assure them of full support,” he said.
“I also appeal to the nation and the (resistance) leadership to take care of these victims of the state-sponsored oppression by adopting them. Our educational institutions should also come forward in this regard.”
Shah informed that united Hurriyat will start a ‘Kashmir Awareness Campaign’ across India by roping in intellectuals from various states.
“We have decided to launch an awareness campaign, regarding our just stand and political thought across India. We will get in contact with the intellectuals in India and try to garner their support, as we hope there are thousands of justice-loving people in that country who will raise their voices in our favour,” he said. “We will bring to them the point that India is facing several human challenges including poverty, unemployment, and malnutrition still it spends a major portion of its budget on defence purposes thereby hindering its development.”
The separatist leader urged Pakistan to establish special Kashmir Cells throughout its embassies across the world to generate awareness about Kashmir issue among people.
“We hope the Pakistan’s embassies across the world will set up special cell for Kashmir. The country also needs to rejuvenate its Kashmir committee. For our cause, we have to utilise all our efforts to win the favour of the permanent member countries of the UN,” he said.
Shah accused PDP-BJP government of implementing RSS agenda in the state.
“What is more depressing is the attitude of PDP, which, at the behest of BJP and RSS, unleashed a reign of terror on our people and blinded our children. The so-called government is working for the sellout of Kashmir, as it has started the process of issuing the domicile certificates to West Pakistan Refugees (WPRs),” he said.
He also expressed concern over the growing LoC skirmishes, saying that scores of “innocent civilians” become “soft targets”.
He challenged the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, to set the separatists free to know the ground reality of Kashmir.
“Let India choose its candidate in the upcoming elections, we will choose any lesser-known person but only under the auspices of any international impartial body. The people’s verdict shall then be acceptable to all. That will be the final verdict of this dispute,” Shah said.

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