SRINAGAR: For the first time since the civilian uprising broke out in Kashmir, the Hurriyat Conference has called of its proposed march to Lal Chowk, the heart of Srinagar city, in deference to the demands of Sikh community who will be observing Guru Nanak Dev’s birth anniversary tomorrow.

In a joint statement, the powerful Hurriyat trio of Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik, said the proposed call to Lal Chowk, according to the weekly protest calendar issued by the separatists, has been cancelled in view of Guru Nanak Dev’s birth anniversary.

“We believe in the golden ethos of religious freedom and tranquility. The age old strong social and communal fabric stands testimony to our rich and glorious past,” the leaders said in the statement.

This is for the first time that the separatists have withdrawn their protest program issued ever since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander, Burhan Wani, on July 8 in an encounter, to "honour" the demands of the minority community.

“Like Sikhs, Pundits, Buddhists, Christians and all other sects are inseparable part of our society and we respect and honor everybody’s sentiments. We don’t believe in hypocrisy and dualism like the puppets of Indian rulers, who lockdown the mosques here but participate in the religious activities of others, proving the intimacy and familiarity to their coalition partners,” the statement said.

The Hurriyat's protest program had called for 'UN chalo' on Eid-ul-Azha, one of the most important days in Islamic calendar when Kashmir was reeling under shutdown and protests following which authorities imposed curfew to prevent the 'chalo' call.

“Beating the drum of so-called democratically elected government, Indian rulers carry out every undemocratic move and subject the whole population to the worst kind of human rights violations through these so-called elected henchmen for the last 70 years,” the Hurriyat said.

“We upheld our traditional, religious and cultural harmony in the darkest days of the partition when every nook and corner of the sub-continent was in flames and human blood and flesh was dissipated everywhere. But ours was the only place where there was calm, appreciated and endorsed by the Indian father of nation as well. Although our brothers and sisters were butchered in lacks in our close vicinity and we had every reason to take revenge, but our faith and religion protected this ethos,” the leaders said.

The Hurriyat again strongly criticized the lockdown of Jamia Masjid where people are being prevented from offering prayers, saying that “India has curtailed and curbed not only our political, social and individual freedom but our religious liberties are also denied and this action is done by none other than the Muslim stooges of the forced oppressor."

(Cover Photograph BASIT ZARGAR: BSF Vacate Schools Before Examinations)