Dialogue and rights violations can’t go together: Mirwaiz

Srinagar, May 31 (Calcutta Tube) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chairman of the moderate Hurriyat group, said here Monday that ‘human rights violations and the dialogue process cannot go on together’ in Jammu and Kashmir, referring to the killing of three civilians in an alleged staged shootout last month.

Reacting to the alleged fake shootouts in Machil sector on the line of control (LOC) April 30 in which three local villagers were allegedly framed and killed as separatist guerrillas, the Mirwaiz told a media conference at his party’s uptown Rajbagh headquarters today that ‘Human rights violations and the dialogue process cannot go on together’.

‘If we have to talk about the future of the people, how can that happen once the very lives of the people are threatened here,’ the Mirwaiz said.

Three villagers — Shahzad Ahmad Khan, Riyaz Ahmad Lone and Muhammad Shafi Lone — were allegedly framed and killed as separatist guerrillas in a staged shootout April 30 in the Machil sector on the Line of Control (LOC).

An Indian Army major and four others, including a Territorial Army soldier, have been booked for the killings.

‘We will not tolerate the murders of innocent people through fake encounters. An international committee must probe these fake encounters to establish the facts,’ the Mirwaiz told reporters.

‘We have no faith in Indian investigating agencies and the local police. We have seen how the Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) dealt with the Shopian double murder and rape case,’ he said.

Two women were found dead by the side of a stream in Shopian town May 29 last year, triggering a Valley-wide agitation with people alleging that the duo had been raped and subsequently murdered by the security forces.

The CBI report in December had ruled out rape and murder as no external injuries were found on their bodies. It said the two had died due to accidental drowning.

The Mirwaiz alleged that many local youths had been missing from their homes during recent months and that a probe by an international committee was needed to establish their whereabouts.

He also said that India was trying to dodge international pressure to begin demilitarization and the withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).

‘Development, progress and constructing bridges will serve no purpose as long as the future and lives of the Kashmiris are at risk,’ the Mirwaiz said.

‘Why are the so-called democratic and secular Indian political parties silent at the fake encounters,’ he asked.

He added that in future, separatist leaders would not announce their programmes as the authorities here were putting them under house arrest to scuttle their plans.

‘We will be undertaking surprise visits to meet the people and not announce our programmes ahead as the security forces here put us under house arrest to scuttle our programmes,’ the Mirwaiz said.

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