Kashmiris want Azadi from India: Mani Shankar


New Delhi—Senior Congress leader and former Indian minister Mani Shankar Aiyar who recently concluded his Kashmir visit, has said Kashmir is not a developmental issue as the Kashmiris he had met demanded Aazadi-complete separation from India.
In an interview to a national daily, Aiyer said during their visit to a tertiary care SMHS hospital-which was flooded by the huge rush of injured people, “The Kashmiris we met stressed this is not like the agitations of 2008 and 2010.Those had specific antecedent causes and they insisted it was just happenstance that the killing of Burhan Wani took place before the current trouble started.”
Aiyar said as far as the crowd at the hospital where he was stopped from entering was concerned, the ‘azadi’ slogan was attached to the slogan ‘go India go’.
“They want complete separation from India. But the other people whom we met – teachers, doctors, intelligentsia, they said if you don’t give us autonomy what alternative is there to `azadi’?”
Aiyar said that AFSPA didn’t appear to be a primary issue any more, like in the past. “It is a definitive political settlement they seek.
The senior Congress leader said that there was no fun in talking to the people they have been already talking to.
“There is no point in only talking to those we are already talking to. It doesn’t only mean Syed Geelani or Hurriyat but also the phenomenon of kids on the street who seem to be out on their own”.
Criticising Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for blaming Pakistan, he said Jaitley is one million percent wrong, as he usually is.
He concluded saying Kashmir is not a development issue as BJP makes it out to be. “This is a political issue. A political issue must have a political solution.—INP

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