SRINAGAR: At 50, Awami Action Committee (AAC), the party shifts its attention to youth, launching a ‘massive’ campaign to involve the younger generations in political, social, and economic upbringing of the conflict-torn Kashmir Valley.
The Mirwaiz Umar Farooq-led party, which is one of the oldest in the political history of the state, has launched a website, www.youth4kashmir.com, on which the youth is asked to “take the pledge, take responsibility, and take action” on a seven-point draft posted on it.
“It is a movement we are starting today,” Mirwaiz announced in the party’s first-ever youth convention held Friday in the sports stadium at Lal Bazar here.
“I want all of you to pledge that you will participate in political, social, and economic development of the Valley. You all shall go to the website and register yourselves. This way, we will create volunteers who will work on ground,” he said. “We already have 1500 youth ready to be part of the campaign.”
Mirwaiz, who marched to the venue from Jamia Masjid here along with scores of his supporters—four kilometer journey took them about two hours—started his address by asking people to stand up from their seats and take the pledge.
He said and the audience, mostly comprised of young and middle-aged people, repeated-in-agreement that “we will be mindful of our faith and honest at all times and we will strive to keep ourselves morally upright, intellectually awake and physically strong.
“We will be its (Kashmir’s) voice of freedom and its force for positive change; to be united in the defence of our rights, including our right of self-determination– we will be courageous and ceaseless in our struggle for justice and for the right to freely pursue our political, economic, social and cultural development.
“We will preserve and protect our precious identity, culture, and environment and strive to pass on an even better heritage to future generations; we will lead by example to imbibe Kashmir with moral and ethical values, greater social consciousness and a collective spirit of social responsibility.
“We will put into practice our collective values, including the principles of truth, compassion, justice, liberty, equality, fraternity and respect; we will work hard to make ourselves economically independent and we will help empower others to do the same.”
The campaign, Mirwaiz said, was part of the party’s ongoing crusade against the “rising” social evils and moral degradation in the Valley, which, he says, “can win its freedom only when the youth is socially, politically active and morally upright.”
“We are oppressed and up against a wicked plan to mislead our youth. But we cannot achieve our goal until our youth turns to Islam and becomes active on all fronts,” he said.
Castigating the government for having banned student politics, Mirwaiz asked the youth to be active in educational institutions.
“It is ironic that in the Valley student politics is banned, but the youth shall become active in schools, colleges, and universities. They shall be holding debates and seminars in the educational institutions,” he said.
“The government must lift ban on student politics,” he added.
Pray at Jamia on Fridays
Mirwaiz asked people to offer Friday prayers at the historic Jamia Masjid.
“Jamia is for Friday prayers. You all shall come, and take back the message to your towns and cities. This is what Mirwaiz Moulvi Farooq used to tell you,” he said.
Heed to strike call
The AAC chairman said the pro-freedom camp calls for strikes only when it turns desperate due to curbs on other means of protest.
“We understand that strikes come with a cost, but sometimes we are left with no other option but to call for strikes as a mark of protest. You all shall heed to the calls,” he said, criticising the state government for restrictions on pro-freedom leaders and for disallowing AAC’s Lal Chowk chalo programme.
Speaking earlier at Jamia Masjid, he announced that a fresh call for march to Lal Chowk will be given after the holy month of Ramadan.