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Repression forcing youth to take up arms: Mirwaiz.

The government of India has chocked every space for peaceful protests in Kashmir leaving youth with no choice than to pick up arms as a means of resistance, the Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said on Sunday, and urged people to “forge unity on the pattern of 2016 uprising to counter New Delhi’s aggression.”

Speaking at a seerat conference organised by the Awami Action Committee at MirwaizManzil here, Mirwaiz said the killing of young boys in gunfights is “extremely sad and painful”.“Severe repression, impunity enjoyed by forces and choking of all democratic rights, including the right to peaceful expression of dissent and sense of injustice, drive young boys to take up arms,” he said.

He said there is a blanket ban on student activism in educational institutions, while student unions are barred and peaceful protests disallowed.“The ultimate harassment of youth and their families has pushed Kashmiri youth to the wall,” Mirwaiz, a key leader of the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), said.

“Many of the youth killed are those who were either persecuted or haunted by the police and other forces, or their family members were killed and harassed. They were left with no choice but to avenge the injustices by taking up arms,” Mirwaiz said.

He said in almost all educational institutions across the globe, there are platforms for youth to express and assert their views.

“In a conflict-zone like ours, those who try to do so are harassed and forced into silence by the concerned authorities. Even when youth visit the resistance leadership to express their views or extend support for peaceful pursuance of the movement, agencies immediately scare and intimidate them,” he said.

“This stifling atmosphere is being deliberately created to push the youth to the path of gun. In the last three days alone, more than 18 armed youth and civilians have been killed in Kashmir, while scores of civilians were grievously injured with bullets, pellets and teargas shells,” he said.

Mirwaiz said that the “military repression” is no solution to the Kashmir issue.

“It will not be able to undo the reality of the (Kashmir) issue either. Whether New Delhi likes it or not, it has no choice than to address the Kashmir issue sooner or later,” he said. He said the JRL is “planning to counter New Delhi’s open aggression in Kashmir”.

“People of Kashmir must forge unity the way they did in year 2016. The JRL will take all segments of the society on board for a collective counter to the onslaught”, he said.

Mirwaiz said more repression New Delhi resorts to in Kashmir, “the more hatred it will trigger in the hearts and minds of the people against the government of India.”

He said that in the past, resistance leaders used to address gatherings and participate in debates in Delhi, Mumbai and other states of India, “but now the situation is such that organisers of such events never invite us fearing reprisals from the RSS-backed BJP regime”.

“Back home, situation is such that we are not even allowed to move out of Srinagar or condole deaths and express sympathies with the bereaved families,” he said.The Hurriyat Conference (M) chief lashed out at Indian electronic media for what he called “launching a venomous propaganda against Kashmir”.

“These channels promote confusion about Kashmir and leave no stone unturned to change the discourse. These channels promote hatred.” Many religious scholars also spoke on the occasion including general secretary of Jamaat-e-IslamiFaheemRamzan; Moulvi Bashir Ahmed Irfani from the Hurriyat Conference (G); Imam of Jamia Masjid Srinagar Moulana Ahmed Syed Naqshbandi, and a research scholar of Kashmir University Muhammad Nayeem Bhat.

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