In an exclusive interview with The Quint, Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chief Yasin Malik said the Hurriyat ‘protest calendar’ is based on the people’s will. He added that stakeholders from different professions are consulted every week while preparing the calendar.
The JKLF leader also said slain terrorist Burhan Wani was “forced to pick up guns” after he was “tortured” by police and security forces.
Have you joined hands with the Hurriyat because the people are following their calendar?
The calendar is there on the demand of the people (sic). We consult all stakeholders, including businessmen, transporters and teachers. As long as people want this calendar, it will go on.
Malik spoke to The Quint at his residence in Srinagar after he was released from the city’s Central Jail in the last week of October. He was arrested as a preventive measure on 8 July after Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed.
During the interview, he blamed the state government for the burning of schools in the Valley.
Many schools were burnt in Kashmir. Is burning schools a solution?
Every freedom organisation condemned the burning of schools. Who are making confrontations with the students? Who are forcing exams on them? It is the state government.
Are you saying the state government is burning schools?
If they can burn temples in 1986 to change the government, why can’t they burn schools?
He said the weekly calendar released by the Hurriyat can be relaxed if the people want it.
Burhan Wani and other youths were part of a non-violent movement during the 2008-10 agitation. However, Kashmir police and the security forces tortured them. This forced them to pick up guns.Yasin Malik, JKLF Chief
Though he calls himself a Gandhian, Malik justified Wani’s act of picking up the gun. He predicted that the unrest in the Valley will continue in some form or the other, until the Kashmir dispute is resolved.
The present government does not believe in negotiations. It wants to break the will of the people, crush and kill them. Ours is a freedom movement, which has been going on since 1947. The speed at which it goes forward may vary, but it will go on until the Kashmir issue is resolved.
Although incidents of stone-pelting have come down recently in Kashmir, militant attacks have been on the rise. It has also been observed that the number of ‘relaxation days’ has been increased in the Hurriyat’s protest calendar. This indicates that people are tired of the unrest and wish to have normalcy.
However, stakeholders like Malik refuse to yield an inch and Kashmir stays stuck in a cycle of violence.
(This story was first published on 21 December 2016. It is being reposted from The Quint’s archives to mark Burhan Wani’s death anniversary.)