"I object to those who take objections to the use of word 'azadi'. Freedom is the fundamental right of every citizen, guaranteed to us by none other but the Constitution of India," Habibullah, a retired IAS officer of Jammu and Kashmir cadre, said here on Monday.
Addressing a convention on democratic rights of Kashmiri youths, he contended that the people of the valley were demanding greater democracy as part of a movement which is taking India ahead of the world.
"If you demand greater democracy, you are not demanding anything anti-national. You are demanding to be part of a movement which is taking India ahead of the whole world and India can be proud of its citizens," Habibullah said.
He ruled that people of Kashmir could not enjoy their basic rights due to 20 years of violence.
"Unfortunately, Jammu and Kashmir is not enjoying that (basic rights). There is a history of it why it has not happened that. We had 20 years of violence. We had the
international conspiracy and all this," he said.
Expressing his optimism, he said under the present situation in the state, "the time is now ripe to move in the direction."
While elaborating on the benefits of Indian democracy, Habibullah said, "I am not wishing to exchange my citizenship of India with any other country because I consider myself to be a free living in this country."
New Delhi: National Minority Commission chief Wajahat Habibullah finds nothing wrong with the usage of word "azadi" (freedom), arguing that the Indian Constitution guarantees this for every citizen of the country.
First Published: Monday, March 12, 2012, 21:30