Yasin Malik to go on hunger strike till death Says cases against him politically motivated

Chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, Muhammad Yasin Malik has announced to go on ‘a fast until death’ from 1st April 2020 against the authoritarian attitude of India.

Muhammad Yasin Malik in a statement released by his family in Srinagar, today, said that the Indian government had made a pledge with him that he would be provided with a genuine political space and efforts would be made for the resolution of the Kashmir dispute through a meaningful dialogue process. However, he added that India had reneged from this pledge. Muhammad Yasin Malik pointed out that besides Indian officials, many international diplomats were also on board for pursuing the idea behind the pledge.

The JKLF Chairman said, the cases against him are politically motivated and the prejudice of the TADA court judge hearing a case against him was evident by his attitude. Muhammad Yasin Malik maintained that he had every legal right to be presented physically before the court but the Judge and the Central Bureau of Investigation at the behest of the Indian government did not allow it. He said he was presented through a video link, where he was neither able to hear the arguments of lawyers, nor was allowed to speak. He added that he had already withdrawn his counsel.

Muhammad Yasin Malik, who is detained in Delhi’s Tihar jail, deplored that the judge was not ready to listen to him, and was behaving like a prosecuting or police officer. He went on to add that whenever he tried to speak, the judge muted the volume or went offline, which showed his bias and prejudice against him and his friends.

The full text of the statement of Muhammad Yasin Malik is as follows:-

“Ladies and gentlemen: With due respect, I was arrested in 1986 when I was a 12th class student on a charge of publishing stickers of independent Kashmir. I was sent to red sixteen-interrogation centre for 15 days and then three months in police lock-up. When I was released, I formed a student organisation, namely Islamic Students League. It was the most famous student organisation in Kashmir.

In the year 1986, a political forum came into existence in Jammu and Kashmir namely Muslim United Front (MUF). It was a forum of different religious, political and social organisations. MUF invited Islamic Students League to become constituent of this forum and we accepted this invitation. I was chosen to represent our organisation in the executive council of Muslim United Front (MUF). J&K Assembly elections were scheduled In March 1987. In executive meeting of Muslim United Front, there was a debate about contesting in these elections. MUF decided that in case of winning these elections, it will bring a resolution in JK Assembly for resolution of the Kashmir dispute. ISL told MUF, that though it was ready to support MUF in elections, but will not field any candidate to contest. ISL supported MUF election campaign and people of Jammu Kashmir in general voted for it but on the result date, the winners were declared as losers, and the losers as the winners. An arrest spree was unleashed and I was arrested from the counting hall, sent to interrogation centre, tortured which gave me blood infection and as a result was shifted to The Police Hospital Srinagar. It was at the said hospital where I was diagnosed with a damaged heart valve. I along with hundreds of members was detained under black law, the Public Safety Act (PSA).

After our release from jail, we the followers of non-violence got convinced that there was no space for a non-violent democratic political movement in India. It is very unfortunate that the country which claims Mahatma Gandhi as its guide, a man who presented the idea of non-violence to the whole world and inspired leaders like Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela and many others like these. It is a sorry state of affairs that today in a country which calls Gandhi as its father of nation, not even a small space for a non-violent political movement is permitted.

It is an irrefutable fact that had British Empire not provided a genuine political space to Mahatma Gandhi and his cohorts, their non-violent movement would not have sustained and succeeded. It is known to everyone that during the freedom struggle of India there were two schools of thought fighting for the freedom of India. One represented by Bhagat Singh, Chandra Shehkar Azad, Ashfaq-Ullah, Ram Prakash Bismil, Raj Guru and many others who believed in armed struggle and the second one represented by Gandhi and his friends who believed in non-violent struggle. It is a fact that the British government arrested Gandhi and other Congress leaders many a times but never sent them to any torture centre. There was a genuine political space for Gandhi’s peaceful struggle and it was because of the fact that the British used to call Congress party as a venting knob of pressure cooker.

When we, the non-violent political activists of Kashmir, failed to find any space for peaceful democratic politics, we got compelled to tread an armed path in 1988 under the banner of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF). Whole world knows that Kashmiris have no history of violence and also that starting an armed struggle was not our desire but it was rather a compulsion.
On 6th August 1990, I was arrested by Border Security Force (BSF) as commander in chief of the JKLF. On 8th August 1990, I was shifted to Tihar Jail in Delhi. In the month of November 1990, I was shifted to a guest house in Mehruli where the then IG BSF, Ashok Patel, Special Director Mr Roy @ Dr. Mathur and the then DG Police J&K G.N. Sexena used to pay frequent visits to me. These officers were trying to convince me to have a dinner with the then prime minister of India Chandera Shakher. I refused this offer and was shifted to Central Jail, Agra (UP) in February 1991. The BSF Chief, Ashok Patel and Special Director Mr Roy used to visit me in this jail rather mental asylum too pursuing me to start a political process.

On 24th February 1992, I was shifted to All India Institute of Medical sciences (AIIMS) from Agra Central Jail because my health had badly deteriorated. At AIIMS, I was operated upon and one of my heart valves was replaced with an artificial one. The IB Special Director, Mr Roy along with Deputy Inspector General IB Mr Sharma came number of times to see me at the said hospital. Indian civil society members like Kuldeep Nair, Raj Mohan Gandhi (Grandson of Mahatma Gandhi) and ex-chief Justice of Delhi High Court, Rajender Sachar came to see me in hospital many a times. I was shifted to Farm House in Mehraulli, which served as a sub jail under Tihar Jail. At this In Mehrauli Farm House, the then Governor of Utter Pradesh (UP), the then Governor of Andhra Pradesh (AP) and Ex- justice of Indian Supreme Court Justice Madhoskar came to see me. They again tried to convince me for starting a political route and start a dialogue process.

Late Kuldeep Nair and Justice Rajender Sachar also came to meet me at Mehraulli Sub jail number of times with the same message. They wanted me to give peace a chance again. During this incarceration period, one day I was taken to a house in Maharani Bagh Delhi where the then Indian Home Minister, Rajesh Pilot along with many senior officers especially Wajahat Habib-ullah were present. I came to know that it was a dinner meeting. During the said dinner, Rajesh Pilot, IB officers and Wajahat Habibullah talked about the nature of Kashmiris and asked me that as people of Kashmir have no history of violence, how had I and my colleagues turned to arms. In reply I told them everything about the violence unleashed by the state against our peaceful political struggle.

The reply from Indian friends was that Kashmiri response to state aggression and lack of political space was justified. Indian friends also said that they lacked information and true knowledge about the happenings in Kashmir for which they were highly repentant.

After acknowledging my stance, Indian friends requested me ponder upon their request of giving one more chance to the non-violent peaceful movement. Mr Kuldeep Nair, Justice Sachar, Governor AP and Governor UP and Supreme Court judge Madhorkar again came to me with the same proposal separately at Mehrauli sub jail.

There were many more meetings with Home Minister, Rajesh Pilot, Wajahat Habib-Ullah and other higher officials at Maharani Bagh house. American (US) government, British (UK) government and many other international diplomats were on board too constantly pursuing the same idea. Everyone was asking me to give peace one more chance. I was told that if I shunned the armed path and returned to peaceful non-violent struggle, we would be provided with a genuine political space and efforts will be made for the resolution of Kashmir dispute through meaningful dialogue process between all relevant parties.

Situation on ground and above all commitments from all above mentioned parties especially from the Indian state about political space, process of negotiated settlement and that all militancy related cases registered against JKLF cadres and myself will not be pursued further provided enough material for me to consider this offer. I accepted transformation without surrendering my ideology and after my release in May 1994, held a press conference in Srinagar and declared a unilateral ceasefire. I pledged to follow a non-violent path and with God’s grace till date I am adhering to that pledge.

The announcement of ceasefire in 1994 was not an easy job. It was in fact a most dangerous and unpopular decision. I was declared as a traitor by many. I miraculously escaped a bid on my life when I was kidnapped by some militants. Many of my colleagues lost their lives too but me and members of JKLF stood firm to our decision and pursued the path of non-violent struggle against all odds. It should be noted that at the time of my declaring ceasefire, as per the government records and statement, there were more than 20,000 active militants in Kashmir.

In the year 2000, Indian Prime Minister, late Atal Bihari Vajpayee declared famous Ramzan ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir and started a comprehensive dialogue process. Special Director, Mr Ajit Kumar Doval, who is now NSA of India, met me in Delhi. He arranged a meeting with the then Director IB Mr Sham Data and then National Security Advisor Mr Brijesh Mishra separately. Both gentlemen told me that PM Vajpayee was serious about the dialogue process for resolving the Kashmir Issue. They appealed me to support this Ramzan ceasefire and peace process announcements. I and other leaders’ resistance movement whole-heartedly supported Vajpayee-Ramzan ceasefire as well as his dialogue process publically.

In 2002, I started a signature campaign throughout Jammu and Kashmir. Purpose of the signature campaign was to promote non-violent mode of struggle in Kashmir and to support peaceful dialogue process which can resolve the Kashmir dispute. It took me two and a half years to visit every village, hundreds of schools, colleges and other places in Kashmir. I was able to collect 1.5 million signatures through this process. In 2006, I had formal meetings with Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh in Delhi. I presented 1.5 million signatures of the people of Kashmir and assured him support for his dialogue process with both Pakistan and Kashmiri leaderships. This process kept moving smoothly and in 2009 the then Home Minister of India, Chidambaram started a covert dialogue process with Kashmiri leadership. I, too met him number of times during that process and discussed various aspects and ways of resolving this vexed human issue. In the year 2010 an all-party parliamentary delegation visited Kashmir and met the leadership here. They visited me too and discussed way forward on peace and dialogue process.

Ladies and gentlemen: from 1994, after the declaration of my unilateral ceasefire, I and my colleagues in JKLF have remained firm on non-violent struggle. There is not a single evidence about me or my JKLF colleagues have ever since supported any act of armed struggle overtly or covertly or provide any kind of help to any armed group. It is also a fact that from last 30 years militancy related cases registered against me and my colleagues were not pursued by any government and all governments from 1994 led by prime ministers like P.V. Narasimha Rao, H.D. Deve Gowda, I.K. Gujral, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh to a large extent honoured the pledge made by the Indian government in 1994 to us. Even through the first five years of the present government led by Prime Minister, Narander Modi there was no trial of militancy-related cases against me and my colleagues. But suddenly from 2019 TADA court in Jammu started trial of these 30 years old militancy-related cases which is actually against the spirit of ceasefire pledge made in 1994.

It is a fact that people live with trust and honour pledge and covenant even with their bitter enemies. Right now I am incarcerated in Tihar Jail No 7, booked under Unlawful Activates Act. A concocted case has been framed against me by the NIA too and on the other hand a trial is going on in Jammu TADA court where without hearing me or giving me a chance to represent me, I and my colleagues have been charge-sheeted on 16th March 2020.

Though I have every legal right to be presented physically before the court but the Judge and the CBI at the behest of government are not allowing me to present myself before the trial court physically. I am being presented through video link conference, where neither I am able to hear the arguments of lawyers nor am I being allowed to speak. I have already withdrawn my counsel and will sent the same in writing to the judge, but the judge is not ready to listen to me, and is behaving like any prosecuting or police officer. He only makes everyone listen to his orders and whenever I tried to speak, he mutes the volume or goes offline.

This actually shows his bias and prejudice against me and my friends. These cases are actually politically motivated and the prejudice shown by the judge and others have made things worse and complicated. Taking all these things in consideration, I have reached to the conclusion that I must go on an indefinite hunger strike against this authoritarian attitude and dishonouring of the 1994 ceasefire pledge by Indian government. My “Fast Unto Death” will start from 1st April 2020, Insha’Allah. I have relentlessly worked hard for the freedom of my nation, for a peaceful negotiated settlement of Kashmir issue and for the promotion of non-violence. I will prefer an honourable death instead of disgraceful life. Please note that I have already pledged to donate all my vital organs to the needy ones after my death and I hope everyone will honour my last wish in case I breathe my last during my fast.
Long live resistance, long live freedom….

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