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Five days of peace every week in Kashmir Valley, as Hurriyat parties issue fresh calendar

The unified Hurriyat conference has sent out a fresh calendar to the people of Kashmir, asking them to strike only on Fridays and Saturdays, meaning the Valley would witness five days of peace every week now, coming as a relief to the strife-torn region, which has been facing unrest since July.

The move comes after pressure was mounting on the Hurriyat to relax the existing calendar which had brought normal life to a grinding halt. “The leadership feels that a sustainable long-term strategy based on proactive initiatives, programmes and sustainable modes of protest is the way forward. We want maximum public participation and implementation, and minimum costs for the people,” a statement issued by the joint Hurriyat leadership said.

A protester throws a stone towards Indian policemen in Kashmir. APA protester throws a stone towards Indian policemen in Kashmir. AP

A protester throws a stone towards Indian policemen in Kashmir. AP

In the statement, Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik said, “People’s uprisings of the last six months have taken our freedom struggle forward, and have opened out the possibilities and the scope of our struggle. We have moved closer to our goal.”

The new calendar was issued by the separatist leadership only called for two days of strikes, while giving people time to relax or to conduct their other businesses.

Citizens in the Valley have welcomed the move, saying the calendar should have been relaxed two months ago, to ease the economic blockade that rendered thousands of people jobless. The Valley has been simmering ever since the killing of Hizbul commander Burhan Wani on 8 July in an encounter. A sense of weariness has since crept in, as weeks have gone by without any let up in curfew or shutdown.

The Valley has been witnessing a complete shutdown since 9 July, one a day after security forces killed Burhan Wani, the local commander for south Kashmir, triggering clashes between security forces and protesters. Over 100 people have been killed and thousands have been injured in these clashes since.

Even Mehbooba Mufti, the chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, acknowledged that unwarranted force was used on protesters during the last five months. “During the past five months, excessive force was used and I don’t deny that, but normalcy has started prevailing. I hope police will cooperate and change their behavior while dealing with people,” Mufti had said, speaking at the passing-out parade of Jammu and Kashmir Police at Commando Training Centre in Lethpora in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.

First Published On : Dec 14, 2016 22:35 IST

Life comes back to normal in Kashmir after 133 days of unrest

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>For the first time in the last four and half months of unrest, Kashmir came alive with the usual hustle and bustle on Saturday.Markets reopened in the valley for full day for the first time since Hizbul Mujhadeen poster boy Burhan Wani was killed on July 8. Traffic snarls were back and streets were filled with the shoppers. Few schools reopened and government departments were buzzing with activities.This follows the two full day relaxation in the shutdowns from Saturday announced by the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) — a conglomerate of Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani, moderate leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, and JKLF leader Mohammad Yasin Malik spearheading the unrest.The 133 days of unrest, however, has inflicted heavy human and economic losses to the Kashmir valley. More than 90 people have been killed and over 13,000 people injured in the unrest. Over 1,100 people, mostly teenagers, have suffered injuries in their eyes when security forces fired pellets to quell the violent mobs across Kashmir.Figures released by Kashmir Inc reveal that the valley has suffered more than Rs 16,000 crore financial losses due to the curfews and shutdowns since the unrest began after the killing Burhan Wani on July 8.”Our estimates show we have incurred losses of Rs 16,000 crore so far. It happened with us in 2008, 2010, and now in 2016 again. We are living in a conflict and therefore permanent solution of Kashmir issue is necessary. We have lost over 100 boys and many others have lost eyes to pellets,” Mohammad Yasin Khan, chairman Kashmir Economic Alliance, an apex body of trade, transport, tourism, and allied sectors, told DNA.Tourism sector has taken a big hit in the four and half months of unrest. Official figures reveal that the tourism sector suffered a loss of Rs 3,000 crore. Official data reveal that around three lakh tourists had visited Kashmir between July 2015 and September 2015. The footfalls of tourist, however, was reduced to trickle in the corresponding period of the current year because of this.”We need continuity. This change has to be there for all days of week. That will give confidence to our clients outside so that they can think of coming to Kashmir. We have to make efforts ahead of the season,” said GM Dag, chairman Kashmir Hotel and Restaurants Owners Federation.For shoppers, it was a delight to walk the fashionable markets in Lal Chowk again. “I could not believe my eyes that markets are open. I finally bought a shawl for winter,” said Aisha Khan, a school teacher.

Kashmir unrest: Separatists in huddle over ‘future strategy’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With the unrest in the Valley entering its 123rd day on Tuesday, the separatists held a meeting here with traders and other organisations to chalk out the future course of action. Hurriyat faction chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front chief Yasin Malik and Hurriyat faction head Syed Ali Geelani were present in the meeting in which all the forums including educationists, transporters, civil society members, religious, social and political organizations, bar association were called.According to reports, various issues regarding the ongoing uprising and other issues like education and conduct of examination came up during talks.The meeting comes after the government allowed the trio to meet on Sunday for the first time in the past four months since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani on July 8th, which threw the entire Valley into turmoil. On November 2nd, authorities did not allow a similar meeting of separatists, by barring their entry into the residence of Geelani.

Curfew in force in Srinagar, normal life disrupted in Valley

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Srinagar remained under curfew on Monday after a teenager was killed by a teargas shell here yesterday, even as normal life in the Valley was paralysed for the 45th day due to restrictions and strike in the wake of violence following killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani. Curfew continues to be in force in entire Srinagar district as well as in Anantnag town.Curfew has also been clamped in Khansahib town of Budgam district of central Kashmir as a precautionary measure, a police official said. He said curfew was lifted from Pampore town today in view of the improving situation.However, the official said, restrictions on the assembly of four or more people under Section 144 Crpc have been imposed in the town and elsewhere in the Valley where there is no curfew. This is to maintain law and order, he said.A youth, Irfan Wani, was killed in downtown area of the city yesterday after he was hit by a tear gar shell. The official said restrictions around Lal Chowk city centre in the summer capital here, which were imposed on August 14, were also eased out today. People with curfew passes are being allowed to move around Lal Chowk, he said.The separatist camp, which is spearheading the agitation in the Valley over the civilian killings during the protests against Wani’s killing, has asked people to march towards Tehsil headquarters today. As many as 65 persons, including two cops, have been killed and several thousand others injured in the clashes that began on July 9.Meanwhile, normal life remained paralysed for the 45th consecutive day due to curfew, restrictions and separatist sponsored strike following Wani’s killing in an encounter with security forces.Shops, private offices, educational institutions and petrol pumps remained closed while public transport continued to be off roads.The attendance in government offices and banks was also affected.Mobile Internet also continued to remain suspended in the entire Valley, where the outgoing facility on prepaid mobiles remained barred.The separatist camp, headed by Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik, has extended the agitation till August 25.

Jammu and Kashmir: One killed in clash between mob and security forces in Srinagar

Srinagar: One person was killed in a clash between a mob and security forces in downtown Srinagar on Sunday evening, shattering the peace that was by and large witnessed in Kashmir through the day with curfew in force in the capital and two other towns.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Irfan Ahmed was injured in a clash between stone pelters and security forces in Fateh Kadal area and he succumbed to his injuries in SMHS hospital later, a police official said.

With this, the toll during the 44-day unrest has gone up to 65, including two policemen.

Earlier, the situation was largely under control through the day with incidents of stone pelting reported only from three places — Kangan in Ganderbal and Trumgund and Behrampora in Sopore.

The miscreants assembled on roads and pelted stones on police and security forces, police spokesman said.

Apart from these incidents, “the situation remained under control across the valley till the filing of this report,” he said.

Curfew was in force in the entire Srinagar district as well as in Anantnag and Pampore towns as a precautionary measure, a police official said.

He said restrictions on the movement of the people were also in force in rest of the Valley.

Shops, private offices and petrol pumps remained closed while public transport continued to be off the roads.

Mobile internet also continued to remain suspended in the entire Valley, while postpaid mobile services and incoming facility on prepaid mobiles were resumed yesterday. However, outgoing facility on prepaid services remained barred.

The separatist camp had called upon people to assemble and occupy local chowks and centers from 3 pm to 5 pm on Sunday.

The separatists have also asked the people to paste on walls the letters, asking all ministers, MLAs and MLCs from all parties to resign from government and party positions.

The separatist camp, headed by Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik, has extended the agitation till 25 August.

Boycott threat looms large over pro-India politicians in Kashmir

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The spectre of a ‘social boycott’ looms large over the pro-India politicians after separatists formally issued a public warning to ministers, MLAs and MLCs to quit their seats or be ready to face ostracisation in the restive Kashmir Valley.The warning was issued on the day when joint opposition called on President Pranab Mukherjee, urging him to impress upon the Central government to initiate a credible, meaningful dialogue with no further delay and involving all stakeholders to address the political issue in the state.Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), an amalgam of Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani, moderate leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and JKLF chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik, who are jointly supervising the current unrest, issued a poster letter asking pro-India leaders to join “public movement for azadi” before it is too late.”During electioneering you bypassed azadi movement and sought votes from people on the issues of power, water and roads. Some gullible people even voted for you. In fact, you have been using it as mask to support the tyrannical occupation and to hoodwink the international community,” said JRL in the poster letter, which was released through media.JRL has asked people to put up this poster letter on every wall, post and pole around the residence of MLAs, MLCs and ministers to pressurise them to quit forthwith from their posts.”Before your anti-people activities force the masses to socially boycott you, it is better and advisable to shun your treachery and resign, and join the people who are giving umpteen sacrifices for the sacred cause,” said the JRL.The JRL cautioned that the resignation is the only way out for the pro-India politicians to redeem themselves in the society. “When the voices of freedom are clearly being heard in every household, the signs of victory are looking brighter. Without wasting any time you should resign to prove your conscience is alive. Any delay in resignation from assembly will slam all doors of honorable return for you,” said the JRL.The JRL warning comes a day after lieutenant general DS Hooda, general officer commanding in chief (GoC-in-C) of Northern Command, appealed for peace and asked everyone including separatists to sit together to find a way out of the current situation.”Cycle of conflict and violence has been going on for more than 40 days now and no one is going to get away from it unhurt… We need to find a way forward from this. It is not one person or one organisation which can do this,” he said.

Pakistan High Commission invites separatist leaders from Jammu and Kashmir for Iftar

Separatist leaders from Jammu and Kashmir, including Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, have been invited by the Pakistan High Commission for the annual Iftar party in New Delhi on June 25.Most of the top and middle-rung separatist leaders from both factions of Hurriyat Conference as well as the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front have been invited to the event. “Yes, we have received an invitation from Pakistan High Commission for an Iftar party on June 25,” Ayaz Akbar, spokesperson for the hardline Hurriyat faction led by Geelani told PTI. Akbar said around 30 members belonging to various constituents of the Geelani’s faction have been invited by the Pakistan High Commission.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>They include Geelani, Ashraf Sehrai, Shabir Shah and Nayeem Khan, Akbar said. Though it was not yet decided whether Geelani would attend, the Hurriyat will be represented at the Iftar party, he said.The moderate faction of Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and its other executive members have also been invited, Mirwaiz’s media advisor Shahid-ul-Islam said. Apart from Mirwaiz, former Hurriyat chairmen Moulana Abbas Ansari and Abdul Gani Bhat have also been invited, he said.Islam said no decision has been taken yet by the Mirwaiz-led Hurriyat faction on attending the party. “We have some days till Saturday to decide on it,” he said. JKLF chief Mohammad Yasin Malik has also been invited, a party spokesperson said. However, as Malik is under police custody, a decision on attending the Iftar party has been not taken, the spokesperson said.Meanwhile, Union Minister of State in PMO, Jitendra Singh reacted with caution to the issue, saying the Ministry of External Affairs will take a call on it. “I think the Ministry of External Affairs will take a call on it,” Singh told reporters. He was replying to a question on whether the invitation extended to the separatists for Iftar by the Pakistan High Commissioner was a provocation by the neighbouring country with regard to normalisation of Indo-Pak relations.

Govt has realised red lines don’t work in politics or diplomacy: Hurriyat

Srinagar: Union minister V K Singh’s statement that separatist leaders can talk to Pakistan High Commissioner was on Monday welcomed by the moderate Hurriyat Conference while the hardline faction said peace will not be restored until promises made by the Centre to Kashmiri people were fulfilled.

While welcoming Singh’s statement, Chairman of moderate Hurriyat Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said the Centre has realised that red lines do not work in politics or diplomacy, the chief of hardline faction, Syed Ali Shah Geelani said peace cannot be achieved till promises made by India to the people of Kashmir at the national and global level are fulfilled.

“It (Singh’s statement) is better late than never. Perhaps the government of India has realised the red lines which they had drawn do not work either in politics or diplomacy,” Chairman of moderate Hurriyat Mirwaiz Umar Farooq told reporters.

Terming it as a “welcome change” and an “acceptance of the reality”, he said there is no other option for India and Pakistan but to engage with each other and take along the people of Kashmir.

A file photo of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. ReutersA file photo of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. Reuters

A file photo of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. Reuters

He suggested that the Centre need to revisit the policies of “shedding the beaten track and take new initiatives” of former Prime Minister A B Vajpayee to address Kashmir issue.

In a written reply in Parliament on 28 April, Singh had said that since the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of the Union of India and these so-called Kashmiri ‘leaders’ are Indian citizens, there is no bar on their meetings with representatives of any country in India.

The Mirwaiz said the Kashmir is among India, Pakistan and the people of Jammu and Kashmir, and Hurriyat has always maintained that it is the primary party to the dispute.

He also accused the state government of using “oppressive methods” to silence the separatists.

The Mirwaiz threatened mass agitation if the curbs on the movement of separatists are not withdrawn immediately.

Meanwhile, dismissing Singh’s statement, Geelani said “It is not an issue for us whether we are invited or not. Our only concern is that the promises made by India to the people of Kashmir at the national and global level are fulfilled.”

“UN resolutions be implemented to give an opportunity to the people of J-K the right to self-determination. Till then peace cannot be achieved,” he told reporters.

He said Kashmir was not a border dispute between India and Pakistan, but an “internationally accepted dispute and the solution of which lies in implementation of UN resolutions.”

Geelani alleged that plans were being made by BJP and RSS to change the demography of Jammu and Kashmir by holding an all-India level medical entrance test.

“They will then be selected at all-India level and if students from here are selected, they will be sent to different states and doctors from other states will be forced upon us.

“This is the plan of RSS and BJP, to turn Valley of Muslim saints into a Hindu Rashtra. They want to force Hindutva upon us,” Geelani said.

About his successor in his party Tehreek-e-Hurriyat and the Hurriyat Conference amalgam, Geelani said the leader would be chosen after consultations following his death.

Hurriyat Conference says willing to help in India-Pakistan peace

A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi advocated peaceful resolution of problems with Pakistan, moderate Hurriyat Conference on Friday said it is willing to extend cooperation in all such endeavours that would be aimed at the resolution of Kashmir issue.”The leadership of India and Pakistan need to devise a mechanism to initiate a dialogue process with the inclusion of true leadership of Kashmir to find a just and lasting solution to the vexed Issue of Kashmir. Hurriyat will extend its cooperation in all such endeavours that would be aimed at the resolution of the issue,” Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said while addressing Friday congregation at the historic Jama Masjid here.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Terming the resolution of the long-pending Kashmir issue as a pre-requisite for peace in the sub-continent, he said if Modi desires to resolve all outstanding issues between the India and Pakistan through dialogue, then there is a need to have ‘walk the talk’ approach and take concrete and practical measures to address and resolve the issue.”Hurriyat has always stood for resolving issues through parleys and that there cannot be permanent peace in the sub-continent unless the Kashmir Issue is resolved. “However, New Delhi’s stance in dealing with Kashmir issue has always been aggressive with a belief in unleashing military might on the people rather than approaching it through a political dialogue,” Mirwaiz said.He said the statements of Indian leadership at the international forums about tackling the issues through dialogue were always negated by their actions on the ground. Modi, while citing the example of resolution of decades-old disputes with Bangladesh last year, made a veiled dig at Pakistan in Brussels, saying “some neighbours” don’t understand that issues can be resolved peacefully by talks.

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