Ex-Norwegian PM’s visit to Kashmir had a ‘go-ahead’ from New Delhi, says Mirwaiz

Srinagar: Hurriyat Conference (M) chairperson Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has said that former Norwegian Prime Minister to Kashmir had a go ahead from New Delhi.

In an interview to New Delhi based Hindustan Times, Mirwaiz while responding to a question whether “centre had given him the go-ahead”, he said: “Definitely, there has been some interest on Kashmir recently in the international arena, especially after the UN (human rights) report on Kashmir. We hope the initiative will continue and there is some movement forward.”

Mirwaiz said that it was after 5-6 years that a visit by any foreign dignitary happened. “Mr Bondevik and particularly Oslo Center (founded by Bondevik) have some experience in conflict regions. He came here, went to Delhi, and went across to Islamabad. The important thing is that he talked about involvement of Kashmiris and secondly that there can be no military solution. Definitely his visit must have the blessings of certain powers; otherwise he would not have been allowed to come here.”

He said that there has been a change in policy as far as New Delhi is concerned as compared to the policy adopted by then NDA (National Democratic Alliance) government under Vajpayee. 

“I think the basis of that engagement then was the realisation that Kashmir is a humanitarian problem. That is why Mr Vajpayee said we are willing to engage within the ambit of humanity. That opened a way for us to engage with Delhi and also go to Pakistan… This was a triangular approach where every party was talking to the other party. That approach is totally missing now. We have seen hardening of stand and extreme repression. That Vajpayee doctrine has been replaced by Doval doctrine. Now the state is engaging people through cordon-and-search operations. While Vajpayee was talking about peace, Mr Modi and his team are talking about war.”

Mirwaiz also brushed off the presence of Al-Qaeda or Islamic State in Jammu and Kashmir.

“As far as the Kashmir militant movement is concerned, you can’t label it as al-Qaeda or any other thing. There is absolutely no trace of that. Even parties like Hizbul Mujahideen and others, they have been very clear about what their goal is. They are limited to Kashmir. There are certain aberrations, certain youth; when you are pushed to the wall, there is a possibility that certain sections tend to see things from a different picture. As a Mirwaiz, as a religious head, we have always maintained that it is a political problem. We have never said that it is Hindu India versus Muslim Kashmir.”

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