Modi’s hard-line approach can’t crush freedom movement: Yasin Malik

Stating that freedom movements could not be crushed with a tough attitude nor can people be oppressed for long under the grip of armed forces, Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front chairman, Yasin Malik told a television channel that Kashmiris are the real stakeholder in the final resolution of Kashmir issue and Prime Minister Narendra Modi cannot dislodge the sentiment. He faced a volley of questions during a TV programme AAP KI ADALAT from host Rajat Sharma and the audience on India TV. Here is the full transcript of the show:

Rajat Sharma: When Narendra Modi became Prime Minister he invited Nawaz Sharief to India and you spoiled the peace process?

Yasin Malik: We did not spoil the peace process but made efforts to strengthen it. All those dignitaries including Prime Minister, Foreign Minister or Foreign Secretary who came from Pakistan to India have been talking to Kashmiris and Indian state facilitated the process.

Rajat Sharma: The system has changed. Nawaz Sharief during his visit to New Delhi did not invite you for talks?

Yasin Malik: There has been shift in the policy not in system.  The system has got a new captain; this is the same BJP government which talked with pro freedom camp and Government of Pakistan. The last BJP government openly said we are talking on Kashmir. The new captain of the BJP led government (Narendra Modi) has made it categorically clear that he does not want to talk on Kashmir…

Rajat Sharma: Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not say he does not want to talk on Kashmir but maintained separatists like you don’t have any role in the talks?

Yasin Malik: Is Narendra Modi saying that seven Prime Ministers who preceded him in last 24 years adopted wrong policies and only he is taking right decision?

Rajat Sharma: Narendra Modi wants to convey to Pakistan leadership that it cannot talk with Yasin Malik and India at the same time, and that there is shift in the policy?

Yasin Malik:  Time has changed for Narendra Modi Ji as it is his personal ideology. He wants to move forward with this ideology. I want to convey to Modi Ji that “Hum Log Bhi Deewane Hain, Aap Agar Zulam Karna Chahtay Ho Jee Bhar Ke Karoo….. (We are also dedicatedly pursuing our goal. And we want to convey to Modi Ji that if he wants to use oppressive tactics, let him do it. As rightly said by an Urdu poet “Idhar Aa Sitamghar Hunar Aazma, Tu Teer Aazma Hum Jigar Aazmayain (come on o tyrant, do whatever you can…you shower your arrows on us and we will bear them on our chests.”

Rajat Sharma: Do you think it is right that Indian High Commissioner talks to those people in Balochistan who propagate revolution there?

Yasin Malik: There is problem in many states in India too and we never talked about them. Who took Kashmir dispute to United Nations? It was none other than India. Who opened the offices of United Nations in Srinagar and other side of Line of Control: The then Prime Minister of India Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru took the Kashmir dispute to international community and UN passed resolutions on Kashmir.

Rajat Sharma: Yasin Sahib….but Narendra Modi is the Prime Minister of India now?

Yasin Malik: Narendra Modi has been chosen by people of India and I don’t have any objection to it. He has taken a decision to adopt hard-line approach on Kashmir. We have understood the shift in the policy and have geared up to strengthen our movement too.

Rajat Sharma: Modi has not adopted hard-line approach…He wants the love letters to Pakistan should stop?

Yasin Malik: In 2003 I wrote a joint love letter to heads of state of Pakistan and Indian Prime Minister Atal Bijari Vajpayee.  He (Vajpayee) wrote an article stating ‘we should ignore beaten tracks and find out new innovative ways to resolve the Kashmir issue.’

Rajat Sharma: You talk about Nehru and Vajpayee and forget that a hard man is heading India this time?

Yasin Malik: I am trying to convey the same thing that Modi by adopting hard-line approach thinks he can crush the ongoing Kashmir movement. History stands testimony to the fact that no issue or movement in the world has been crushed by military might.

Rajat Sharma: Pakistan attacks India office in Afghanistan, gives clean chit to Hafiz Sayeed before talks. Shall India still talk with Pakistan? Despite India’s objections, Pakistan went ahead with his meeting with separatists. India has to make clear that what used to happen in past 24 years won’t continue now?

Yasin Malik: It is a testing time for us. Now that Modi has come, hard times may be waiting for us but we are revolutionaries and we by Allah’s grace will survive and pass this test too.

Rajat Sharma: But Modi says there is good day ahead of India?

Yasin Malik: We have never cursed India as there are many people who support our movement. I want to tell Modi that such an atmosphere is being created which can be summed up in two stanzas from Faiz Ahmad Faiz  “Nisar Teri Galiyoon Pay Aay Watan Ke Jahan Chale Hai Rasm Ke Koi Na Sar Utha Key Na Chalay, Jo Koi Chahney Wala Tawaaf Ko Niklay, Nazar Bacha Ke Chaley, Jism o Jaan Bacha Kar Chaley’’ (Oh my nation! Be sacrificed on your streets where a ritual has started that no one should walk on these streets with his head high. And if anyone still wants to walk on these lanes, he should keep eyes down and save his life and honour). He (Modi) can give good governance to India but cannot crush our movement by his hard-line approach.

Rajat Sharma: The Pakistani High Commissioner invited you: Tum Ne Pukara to Hum Chaley Aaye (you called us and we are there)

Yasin Malik: We were invited by India Prime Minister, Hum Chalay Aaye (we came)…..we came…..Atal Bihari Vajpayee also invited the Hurriyat when it was united through his interlocutor RK Mishra. Credit should be given to Kashmiris that whenever peace process started they participated and welcomed it.

Rajat Sharma: You live, eat and breathe in India, but you always go to Pakistan for talks?

Yasin Malik:  We talk to both the countries ……We always tell them that since 1947 Kashmiris have been suffering due to unresolved dispute. I am the only Muslim leader who met with RSS leader for five hours for resolving the dispute.

Rajat Sharma; You talk with the Pakistan which gave safe passage to Osama Bin Laden?

Yasin Malik: When we talk with India you have no objection but when Pakistan which you consider as stakeholder to the dispute, invites us, you label us as their agents. Same way tomorrow Pakistani journalists will also label us as Indian agents when we talk with Indian leadership.

Rajat Sharma: India never supports terrorism …Osama Bin Laden was killed in Pakistan, Dawood Ibrahim lives in Karachi, Hafiz Sayeed roams in Lahore. These are internationally recognized terrorists.

Yasin Malik: These issues are related to other issues of India with Pakistan. If India is concerned over these issues, why has it initiated dialogue with Pakistan? India cancelled the talks with Pakistan after it objected to its meeting with separatists. India should openly raise these issues?

Rajat Sharma: People of India feel pained when you talk with Pakistanis whose soldiers behead their Indian counterparts like Khemraj?

Yasin Malik: We also feel pained over such issues but if it is a fact why do you talk with Pakistan. Why did you call Pakistani Prime Minister to India?

Rajat Sharma: When Pakistan says it provides diplomatic and moral support to you then India by inviting its head wants to convey to stop such activities?

Yasin Malik:  Representatives of United States, Britain and European Union meet pro freedom camp. Even India engaged them to talk with separatists. Atal Bihari Vajpayee initiated talks with Pakistan by stating at Minar-e-Pakistan that he wants to resolve Kashmir during his lifetime. Vajpayee later talked to Kashmiris. We started armed struggle in Kashmir against human rights violations. In a country where Mahatma Gandhi propagated that all issues can be resolved through peace, I could not find the soul of Gandhi and we started the armed struggle. Later when I was arrested, India engaged US, Britain and civil society, urging us to start a peaceful movement. My 600 activists were killed and I was lodged in jails 300 times. I lost hearing in my right ear due to interrogation; six attempts were made on my life. After the ceasefire the state terrorism continued to crush our peaceful movement.

In 2008 there was a transition from violent movement to non violent movement. What we received is 82 bodies in 2008, 45 in 2009 and 128 in 2010….military might was used to crush our movement, Are you not pushing Kashmiris to start an armed struggle?

Rajat Sharma: Why do you forget what Pakistan is doing in India? It sends Ajmal Kasab to kill people in Mumbai?

Yasin Malik: It is on record that I and all the separatists showed concern over the brutal killings in Mumbai. India seems to be confused. Ministry of External Affairs termed Pakistan as stakeholder to the dispute. When India wants to talk, it changes its vocabulary? Movement of Kashmiris is indigenous and people of Jammu Kashmir want right to self-determination to decide whether they want to stay with India, Pakistan or remain independent.

Rajat Sharma: Do you believe that when Pakistan cannot resolve its own issues, how can it resolve Kashmir?

Yasin Malik: Pakistan is a sovereign country. It has its own issues. I cannot interfere in its internal affairs. I only want to resolve Kashmir issue according to aspirations of Kashmiris. India terms Kashmir as its integral part, and Pakistan calls it its jugular vein. Our stand on this is clear. We say let Kashmiris decide their future. Let them decide whether they want to accede to Pakistan or to India or want to remain as an independent nation. Modi’s message is very clear. He is not going to give Kashmiri freedom camp any diplomatic or political space.

Rajat Sharma: But your heart seems to be with Pakistan. 

A big laugh………..

Yasin Malik: Everybody has his belief. Modi got majority and came in his own colour.  We have a political belief that we want Azadi. Kashmiri people have offered unflinching sacrifices for the movement.

Rajat Sharma: Your actions and words don’t match: You claim to propagate Gandhi’s policy but have friends like Hafiz Sayeed and do what Jamat-ul_Dawah and Jamaat Islami tell you to do?

Yasin Malik: We declared ceasefire in 1994. I challenge you to cite one instance in which JKLF propagated violence since then despite lots of provocations.

Rajat Sharma: On February 11, 2013, you sat on hunger strike against the hanging of Afzal Guru in Islamabad and Hafiz Sayeed shared stage with you?

Yasin Malik: It was former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who, after the Ramzan ceasefire in November, 2000, had allowed Kashmiri separatist leaders to go to Pakistan to meet resistance and militant leaders on other side, so that an atmosphere for peaceful dialogue could be created. After Vajpayee government left, I had an official meeting with the then PM Dr Manmohan Singh in 2006 in which I told him that the government should involve militant leadership in peace talks. The PM said, he needed our help in this regard. I went to the United States, and when the earthquake shook Pak administered Kashmir, I went there with relief goods. It was then that I visited the Lashkar-e-Toiba camp in Mureidkay where Hafiz Sayeed had organized a felicitation event. I addressed the Lashkar cadres there. I told them that Islam teaches us to give peace a chance. The Indian media did not report and created havoc on the meeting.

In February, 2013, I was in Pakistan when my wife gave birth to my daughter. What is the concept of hunger strike; it is a non-violent way of protesting. There were civil society members and Hafiz Sayeed also came there. I had not invited anybody.

Rajat Sharma: Audience wants to know that when Mumbai was attacked why not you organised hunger strike against Hafiz Sayeed

Yasin Malik: When Gandhiji fought against British rule, even some British people supported him. If I ask you when lakhs of Kashmiris including children were killed, there are graveyards of martyrs in every nook and corner of Kashmir why you (Indian people) remained silent?

Rajat Sharma: Should anyone talk with Hafiz Sayeed?

Yasin Malik: My stand is clear… is not that Laskhar-e-Toiba should talk on Kashmir. I addressed the US State Department and White House that we should take on board Kashmiri militant leadership (United Jihad Council ) led by Syed Salahuddin to create peaceful atmosphere for genuine talks. When I talked to Hafiz Sayeed, I tried to tell him that when two countries are talking with each other, a peaceful atmosphere needs to be created.

Question from a woman among audience: “Do you believe in the Indian stand that Hafiz Sayeed orchestrated 26/11 attack?”

Yasin Malik: A senior journalist of India also met Hafiz Sayeed. I was jailed after my return and my passport was also impounded. If he had not gone without knowledge of India government he should have faced the same action as I faced.

Rajat Sharma: Kashmiri Pandits blame you for their exodus?

Yasin Malik: I am ready to face the charges in any public court. If somebody levels allegations on anyone, there should be argument or evidence to prove those allegations.

Rajat Sharma: Kashmiri Pandits allege that Bita Karatey has confessed that he killed 40 Kashmiri Pandits on your orders.

Yasin Malik: On 19 January, 1990 Pandits left Kashmir. There is a perception that of genocide of Kashmir Pandits. Please give me the list of those killed. I am ready to participate in this program, let Kashmiri Pandits come up with that list.

Rajat Sharma: Do you believe that Hafiz Sayeed and Salahuddin can help in peace process?

Yasin Malik: Even after fighting three wars with Pakistan including Kargil war and skirmishes on border, India still tries to resolve the dispute through dialogue. In conflicts there are attempts to bring all parties on dialogue table, so that nobody can sabotage the process.

Rajat Sharma: People believe Hafiz Sayeed should be in Indian jail than on dialogue table?

Yasin Malik: My stand is that engagement of Kashmiri leadership in the dialogue is important and necessary. I only went to Mureedkay camp to seek cooperation of Hafiz Sayeed during the India-Pakistan peace process.

Rajat Sharma: Do you believe that Hafiz Sayeed should get punishment for his crime and is his prosecution going on in a right way in Pakistan?

Yasin Malik: India must be aware about the trial going on in Pakistan and only it can comment on it.

Question from a woman among audience: “I want to tell that people living on both sides of border that have relatives on either side, want peace. I want to know why more people don’t take note of the fact that they used to access someone who had a violent way of life and this person is made a turnaround, talks about peace and quotes from Faiz Ahmad Faiz and believes in Mahatma Gandhi, why are people not willing to listen to a person.

Yasin Malik: The behaviour of Indian state, civil society, writers and other people about Kashmir, continues to refuse to honour Kashmiri peaceful movement. Rhetoric and oppressive measures taken give a negative message to youth in Kashmir. This gives a message to the youth of Kashmir that peaceful struggle will yield them nothing and hence will push them towards the armed struggle. When Kashmiris made a transition from armed struggle to non-violent movement there were questions in Kashmir whether it was a right or wrong decision. We trained Kashmiri youth for non-violent movement. Its glaring example is 2008 when there was collective transition. The response from the Indian civil society and audience here, is seemingly pointing to Kashmiris that Kashmir can be resolved through armed resistance and not through non-violent movement.  It is not a good message.

Rajat Sharma:  Are Kashmiri people are with you?

Yasin Malik: I won’t claim to be a big leader, but I want to maintain that Kashmiris want peaceful resolution of the issue.

Rajat Sharma: When people of Kashmir are with you why you don’t contest elections?

Yasin Malik: We made an effort in 1987 and we saw its consequences ….we saw Red 16 interrogation centre and jail. If Indian audience have any doubt that people of Kashmir are not with the freedom movement, then I pose a question to Rajatji and India TV team to forget about Indian parliament or assembly election and ask Mehbooba Mufti, Mufti Sayeed, Omar Abdullah, Congress and other pro India parties and leaders to choose any constituency and conduct private elections to determine who represents the aspirations of the people of Jammu Kashmir, we will participate in it and whole world will witness that who represents the people of Jammu Kashmir .

Rajat Sharma: Elections are scheduled to be held later this year. Why don’t you participate in the elections and form your own government?

Yasin Malik: Many elections were held in Kashmir since 1947 and one of the senior Gandhian leader Jay Prakash Narayan wrote an article in Hindustan Times titled “rethinking” in 1962, and he said: “my countrymen may accuse my patriotic credentials but I want to tell them that all Kashmir elections are rigged and manipulated. We have made many pledges to the people of Jammu Kashmir that they will be given a free chance to decide their future and we are yet to fulfil these promises.”