From Kolkatta to Iran, Punjab to Balochistan, people take to streets to support Kashmiris

Srinagar: People from various parts of India and abroad are coming out in support of Kashmiris and taking out rallies to show solidarity with the families of young people killed in firing by Indian forces.
A sizeable rally was organised by various civil society groups, human rights networks, student bodies and ordinary citizens of Kolkata to protest against ongoing violence in Kashmir. The participants assembled in a popular meeting place in central Kolkata, College Square, carrying posters, flags and placards and walked till Sealdah station, also located in the central areas. The rally was organised as a part of a week long programme in Kolkata to protest against the ongoing unrest in the valley of Kashmir.
Thousands of civilians assembled in College Square,opposite Calcutta University, on Thursday afternoon. Posters with some of the names of the people killed in police firing– Azad Hussain (25), Shopian, Umar Shafi (16), Achabal or Amir Nazir Lattoo (22) of Bijbehera etc. – with a catchline, “Kashmir belongs to Kashmiris” were pasted on the ground in College Square.
Slogans demanding “Azadi [freedom] for Kashmir” were raised and even school boys participated in the rally. However majority of the participants were from various colleges and universities of the State, while many academics, rights activists or even supporters of specific political parties, including the ruling party, could be seen.
“Why young boys– like Burhan Wani– is taking up arms is a not question that nobody is asking. Rather the State is seeking a solution by killing more and more civilians. It is shameful, barbaric and would never produce a solution,” said Prof. Deb. He said that the officials of the State should “immediately stop killing the people” and seek a dialogue-driven solution to the problem. Vice president of civil rights group, Association for Protection of Democratic Rights [APDR], Ranjit Sur demanded a referendum.“The people of Kashmir are fighting for their autonomy. They have the right to decide their own fate. Despite promising to hold referendum in Kashmir, regarding the demand of autonomy, the Government of India has not done so, over decades,” Sur said.
Earlier in the week, releasing a book on Kashmir, women activists from the valley said that a new wave can “now be experienced in Kashmir” and that is participation of the women in the freedom struggle. Whether it is using the digital platforms to disseminate information from the house, hit the road to confront forces or researching incidents of violence women are in the forefront, said two Kashmiri researchers.
Ifrah Butt and Natasha Rather are the two researcher-activists, who addressed at least five public meetings in Kolkata, and said that “Kashmiri society has changed.”
Far away from Kashmir and Kolkatta, a group of students from Kashmir on Friday protested in Iran against the killing spree in the Valley that followed the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani. The students said they protested under the leadership of Aga Syed Karar Hashmi and those who participated were Aga Syed Muzafar Ali Madni, Aga Syed Abid Hussain Rizvi, Aga Shafaat and many others.
Reports from Pakistan’s Baluchistan said that long solidarity marches were held across the region. The people demanded intervention of international community to resolve Kashmir dispute.
On Wednesday, people from all walks of life assembled at Jantar Mantar Delhi and held sit-in protest against civilian killings in Kashmir. They denounced the use of bullets and pellets and demanded immediate end to their use.
On Thursday, scores of youths from Sikh community held protests in Punjab. They condemned the killings and held prayers for the slain youths. Kashmiris and their colleagues from various parts of world are sending pictures showing solidarity with their Kashmiris brethren based in valley.
Thousands of protesters marched in Pakistan-administered Kashmir on Friday to denounce recent deadly clashes with Indian security forces, with some calling for war over the disputed frontier.
About 4,000 people gathered in Muzaffarabad, some carrying photos of Burhan Wani, whose killing last week sparked the unrest.
Students, lawyers, traders, political activists and members of militant groups gathered at Friday’s protest, where the local head of hardline militant group, Jamat-ud-Dawa, issued a call to arms.
“India understands the language of bullet and not voice of people. We have no other option, just to start an armed struggle,” Maulana Abdul Aziz Alvi told the crowd.
“We call on the military and political leaderships that Kashmiri mujahideen (holy warriors) should be allowed to go and fight against the Indian troops and for the freedom movement.”
“We came here today to show solidarity with the oppressed Kashmiris in Indian-held Kashmir. We want to tell the world about the brutalities against the unarmed civilians in Kashmir,” Muhammad Tahir, a 26-year-old student, told AFP.

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