Srinagar: Amid a protest demonstration by traders and businessmen in Srinagar on Friday, various groups backed a strike call on Saturday against the burning of kalima-inscribed flags by militant Hindu activists in Rajouri district recently.
Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, Joint Committee of Private Schools (JCPS), Hurriyat Conference (M), Bar Association and about 25 business and trade organizations supported the shutdown call.
“We have asked all of our members to close their schools for a day on Saturday to protest against the incidents in Rajouri,” JCPS convener GN Var said in a press statement, adding, “We fully support the strike call given by KEA and others.”
The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), Federation of Chamber of Industries Kashmir (FCIK), Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation (KTMF) and Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA) jointly called for the strike “in the interest of the integrity of the state”.
Var said, “It (burning of flags) is the start of a dangerous trend whose ultimate casualties are children.”
“Because of these incidents thousands of children could not attend schools. And communal incidents often lead to increased tension among students too,” Var said.
Supporting the shutdown call, JKLF chairman Yasin Malik asked people to “stand up for Jammu Muslims”, adding attempts are being made at the “behest of the RSS to frighten Jammu Muslims”.
“PDP, NC, Congress and communists, who have maintained criminal silence over these incidents, are actually promoting this communal conspiracy,” Malik said.
He said a situation similar to that of 1947—when killing of about 100000 Muslims in Jammu forced mass migration to Pakistan administered Kashmir—is being created in Jammu, Rajouri, Poonch, Doda, Kishtwar, Baderwah and Ramban areas.
Malik said Muslims of Kashmir will not remain silent spectators of this alarming situation and will do everything possible to safeguard the rights and lives of their brethren in Jammu.
The strike call has also been endorsed by Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Kashmir High court Bar Association.
“The strike call given by KCCI and other trade organizations for July 25 regarding the state terror in Rajouri is legitimate and people would observe strike and express complete solidarity with the people of Rajouri,” a spokesman of the Hurriyat conference said in a statement here.
A spokesman Kashmir High Court Bar Association said that the lawyers have been requested to abstain from court work on Saturday, so as to register their protest against the burning of Islamic flags whereon “Kalima Tayyiba” was written and also to show their solidarity with the people of the area who have been subjected to worst kind of ‘state terrorism’ by the police and other authorities by clamping curfew in the area.
Meanwhile, Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation (KTMF) protested at Lal Chowk, terming the burning of flags and subsequent harassment of Muslims in Rajouri amid curfew as “communal onslaught”.
“What happened in Rajouri and the way deputy chief minister handled the developments seems to be part of some deep-rooted conspiracy of communal forces against Muslims,” said KTMF president Mohammed Yasin Khan.
“Let me make it clear to the communal forces and their well wishers in the government that if they don’t refrain from such evil activities, every peace loving Muslim of Kashmir will be forced to take to streets for a decisive battle,” Khan said.