Imagine a memorial for the slain militants in Kashmir!South Kashmir Township of Pulwama is up in arms against the authorities for rejecting their demand of constructing a memorial for the slain militants in the `martyrs’ graveyard of the main market.For the last 12 days the township has been observing a shutdown prompting the authorities to invoke Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) to ensure the essential services and supplies to the people in the district.The demand for memorial was spurred by the death of a local militant of Lashkar-e-Taiba, Omais Ahmad Sheikh, in Bandipora district last month. Soon after he was buried, the youth started raising slogans and demanded the memorial be built. The youth wanted the names and pictures of the people slain in encounters and other incidents to be superimposed on the memorial.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Some 400 to 800 youths wanted to erect a sign board. We as elders suggested to them that they should not write anything except Mazar-e-Shohuda (martyrs’ graveyard). They wanted to display the pictures of the people buried in the graveyard. Then we arrived at a consensus that we should put up a simple sign board with Mazar-e-Shohuda written on it,” said Bashir Azam, head of the local Auquaf in Pulwama.Local Auquaf members and traders held several rounds of meeting with the district administration to evolve a consensus. “There has been no progress, however. We want only the sign board to be put up outside the graveyard.No photographs and nothing else. The administration should accept this demand. People are facing a lot of difficulty and traders have suffered losses worth crores of rupees,” said Azam.What, however, added a new dimension to whole saga was the support extended by separatists for the martyrs’ memorial. “Youth who are making sacrifices are our heroes and worth to be respected. Installing martyrs’ memorial board on the entrance of the Shaheed Park is a good move which should be followed by other districts as well. It is beyond our understanding why the police are creating hurdles,” said Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani.District development commissioner Niraj Kumar said talks are on but there has been no breakthrough. “We are holding talks but so far nothing has come out,” he said.


South Kashmir township on warpath over memorial for militants