On The Ground, No Signs of a Thaw
SRINAGAR: The civilian uprising in Kashmir valley entered into its third month today with no sign of thaw in sight even as the Hurriyat Conference extended its protest calendar till September 16.
A day after the All Party Meeting in the national capital talked about reviewing 'perks' extended to the Hurriyat leaders, the latter have unanimously asked New Delhi to remove their security cover.
"I dare Indian leaders to prove that I have taken even one rupee from the Indian treasury. If they do, I will resign as the president of Muslim Conference," Prof Abdul Gani Bhat, whose group is affiliated with moderate Hurriyat, said.
Prof Bhat said the Hurriyat leaders have not sought any protection from the state government or the Centre, and the security cover protecting them was offered when the conglomerate entered into talks with New Delhi during 2002-2005.
"We have not asked for it (security cover). They are welcome to remove it," he added.
Clashes and protests continue in the valley on 62nd day of the uprising with over dozen civilian protesters wounded after forces attacked a pro-freedom rally in Kellar village of south Kashmir's Shopian.
Residents said forced fired pellets and burst teargas shells to foil the rally, leaving at least fifteen people injured. In Pulwama, the centre of the present uprising, militants attacked a police station, sparking exchange of gunfire.
In Kulgam district, suspected militants last night snatched four rifles from the residential guards of the opposition National Conference's block president, Abdul Rashid Khanday.
Curfew-like restrictions remain in place in parts of the valley which have witnessed massive anti-India and pro-freedom protests over the last two months since the killing of Hizb Commander Burhan Wani in an encounter in south Kashmir.
Meanwhile, hitting out at the authorities, Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Geelani said people in Kashmir are "subjected to the worst kind of treatment by the forces who try and test their all kinds of weaponry on the non-violent demonstrations and peaceful programs".
"Indian leaders have habit of gate crashing and nocturnal raids thereby terrorizing the whole populace, but our people courageously and bravely face all the odds, even during the harshest days of their life,” the octogenarian leader said yesterday while addressing people telephonically in Srinagar.
Geelani appealed people to celebrate the upcoming Eid-ul-Azha with austerity, "We should not forget the needy people in our vicinity as this is not only our moral duty but religious and social as well .... unless the gravity and intensity of Kashmir issue is not agreed upon, any negotiation or talks are bound to fail,” he maintained.
Rejecting any dialogue with the Centre, Geelani said "150 rounds of talks stand testimony to it that people met, had photo shoots, then a cup of tea for so many decades but our bloodshed didn’t stop. Our fourth generation is bound to live under the dark and obnoxious shadow of Indian thrall. Our kids are living under the threat of forced armed occupation with its all repercussions,” Geelani said.
(Cover Photograph Basit Zargar)