JEHANGIR ALI | 18 NOVEMBER, 2015
Kashmiris Meet for Protest Strategy Other than Shutdowns
No more shutdowns?
SRINAGAR: Sensing a change in public mood against the politics of shutdown (hartal), some prominent political, social and religious groups have started deliberations here in capital Srinagar of Jammu & Kashmir to chalk out a strategy for "alternate" forms of protest.
The representatives of all the Hurriyat amalgams, prominent civil society groups, religious and business bodies, scholars, writers, doctors and transporters have converged at the Mirwaiz Manzil in Rajouri Kadal of Srinagar, following the invitation of the moderate Hurriyat chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.
Advocate Shahid-ul-Islam, the political advisor to Mirwaiz, said the public sentiment in Kashmir Valley is slowly turning against the politics of frequent hartals which also deals a blow to the economy of Jammu and Kashmir whose prominent victims are low income groups.
"We will seek suggestions to evolve new strategy for countering government’s aggression on resistance leadership and youths across Kashmir. It is important that we devise alternate strategies so that a vendor selling second-rate clothes doesn't sleep hungry because of a shutdown," Islam said, stressing that the deliberations will be an "ongoing process".
He said the suggestions made by the participants today will be incorporated into a blueprint that will be prepared on alternate forms of protest. "It is an ongoing process. We are expecting participation from all groups to make it a success," Islam said.
He said Mirwaiz will also be live on Twitter through his handle @MirwaizKashmir on Thursday and he will take relevant questions from netizens on the issue. "With this exercise, we will also try to bridge the gap between people and resistance leadership. We will also welcome suggestions on making the Hurriyat leadership more effective and accountable to people,” Islam said.
The Valley has been reeling under frequent shutdowns this year. After the PDP-BJP government came to office, the government has curtailed the movement of separatist leadership by imposing frequent restrictions in Kashmir parts where there are fears of protest against forces' excesses.
Three civilians were killed in forces' retaliatory action against protesters in Kashmir Valley since the new PDP-BJP government came to office. "The government foiled our programs to meet the families of these victims. It has been muzzling the voice of people of Kashmir by force. We have to counter this aggression by alternate strategy,” Islam said.