The Hizbul Mujahideen is not against negotiations with the Indian government, its commander Riyaz Naikoo told Al Jazeera in an interview on Thursday. The Hizbul Mujahideen has been recognised as a terrorist organisation by India. In August 2017, the United States designated the Kashmiri militant outfit as a foreign terrorist organisation and issued sanctions against it.
“We are not against negotiations with India,” Naikoo was quoted as saying. “But negotiations can only lead to a fruitful outcome when they take place between parties that recognise each other as equals.”
Naikoo said talks cannot take place between a “master and a slave”. “Some Indian leaders insist that we must talk within the ambit of the Indian constitution; what they really mean is capitulation,” he said, adding that Indian leaders are not interested in honouring Kashmir’s political demands.
Naikoo said the militant group was compelled to resort to violent methods of resistance to fight against the Indian military’s continuous repression. He said the Indian government has refused to recognise or implement the United Nations’ resolutions that call for plebiscite to determine the will of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Hizbul Mujahideen commander said the outfit is demanding complete dismantling of Indian illegal occupation of Kashmir. “No colonial occupation has continued forever, and it is our firm belief that the Indian rule in Kashmir will also collapse sooner or later. Until then, we will fight,” he said.
Naikoo described Pakistan as the Hizbul Mujahideen’s “ideological and moral friend”. “Pakistan is the only country which has consistently supported our cause and raised the concerns of Kashmiri freedom struggle at international forums,” he said.