Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Thursday said the use of force and intimidation against people “only complicates the Kashmir conflict further”.

“We believe that the path of seeking peaceful resolution of the Kashmir conflict is in keeping with the wishes of its people, while considering the interests of both India and Pakistan as parties to the conflict. However, hegemonic authority, use of force or intimidation of people, only complicates the conflict further,” the Mirwaiz said in a statement.

He said the sufferings of the people and the sacrifices rendered in quest of a resolution “constantly remind us that the Kashmir issue has to be resolved and the sentiment honoured”.

“Imprisonment and incarceration cannot change that reality. We will continue to pursue that goal and the path shown by our dear leaders,” he added.

The Mirwaiz, who remains under house arrest since the Centre ended J&K’s special constitutional position in 2019, said the extreme use of force and intimidation by the authorities “have resulted in a complete ban on any form of individual or collective expression by people or the leadership”.

“The recent brazen recommendations of the government Delimitation Commission is another step towards implementing demographic change by way of reducing Muslim representation in the conflict-ridden State and gradually changing its Muslim majority character,” the Mirwaiz said.

He said the vengeful termination of Muslim employees from government service, the main source of employment for locals, was going on.

“A vicious cycle of violence, which also saw civilians’ deaths recently, continues to claim precious human lives, including the likes of young Rahul Bhat and policeman Riyaz Ahmed Thokar. Such incidents are tragic and very painful,” the Mirwaiz said.