JRL calls for shutdown on November 27 in solidarity with political prisoners
Srinagar: In a surprise move, the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) announced early Wednesday that it will hold a protest sit-in against the “onslaught and oppression” in southern Kashmir and in solidarity with Kashmiri political prisoners. Hurriyat Conference (M) chief Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and JKLF chief Mohammad Yasin Malik reached the Jamia Masjid at Abi Guzar at about 12:30pm, from where they took out a protest demonstration. Police stopped them from moving towards Residency Road and bundled in a police van Mirwaiz, Malik and Syed Imtiyaz Hyder, among other leaders. They were driven to Kothibagh sub-jail and detained there.
Amid this, the JRL called for a complete shutdown on November 27 in solidarity with Kashmiri political prisoners who are languishing in jails both within and outside the state.
Earlier, the ailing Hurriyat (G) chief, Syed Ali Geelani, addressed the gathering inside Jamia Masjid Abi Guzar through the mosque’s public address system. Speaking via a cellphone from his Hyderpora residence, Geelani vowed to continue the struggle for the right to self-determination.
“Our struggle will continue till we are given the basic right of self-determination,” Geelani said. He said that the government’s “Operation All-Out” against militants should immediately be stopped, and all Kashmiris arrested by the government forces should be freed. “Kashmir valley, particularly the south Kashmir districts, are facing the worst onslaught and oppression at the hands of government forces,” he said.
During the presser ahead of the scheduled march, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq lashed out at the governments in both J&K and Delhi for their “massive onslaught” on the people of Kashmir.
“The power-drunk government has unleashed terror in south Kashmir, where people are being killed and injured by the men in uniform,” he said, adding that the JRL desisted from publicly announcing its sit-in programme because “the government would not have allowed it to take place”.
“All this would have been done under the garb of so-called democracy,” he pointed out.
Mirwaiz accused the government forces of ransacking private property and harassment of women in south Kashmir. “All our rights have been taken away,” he said. “The government is running operation catch-and-kill in south Kashmir,” he said, asking authorities to stop “killings in the name of militancy”.
Mirwaiz said that Kashmiri prisoners were being targeted in jails. “Our prisoners, who are political prisoners, are being psychologically tortured,” he said.
“Be it in Jammu, Kathua, Kotbalwal or Tihar jails, our youth and other prisoners from Kashmir are being meted out the worst inhuman treatment,” he said. “They are political prisoners and the government of India is bound to give them proper rights under the Geneva conventions and other international laws.”
He alleged that fake cases have been registered against Kashmiris and juveniles were being kept in jails.
“Our political workers are being targeted,” he said, and announced: “The JRL has decided to call for a complete shutdown on November 27 to show solidarity with our prisoners who are languishing in jails in J&K and in India.”
He said that the JRL has petitioned the state human rights commission and the ICRC to address the plight of Kashmiri prisoners. “But it is unfortunate that no team from either of the two has visited any jail so far,” he said.
“We had to delay this announcement because students of class tenth and twelfth are writing their final examination till November 25,” he said.
JKLF chief Yasin Malik said in his address that conspiracies were being hatched against the JRL. It was the second time he had claimed that the “unity” among Geelani, Mirwaiz and himself isn’t liked by many. During a recent seminar at Hyderpora to commemorate the 140th birthday of Sir Muhammad Iqbal, Malik had said that “some people were against the JRL and conspiracies were being hatched to break it.”
Speaking at the Abi Guzar Jamia Masjid today, he said, “The government of India has only one aim: to break this (JRL) unity. I appeal to people to be aware of this.”
Malik said that the government of India has “decided to make Kashmiris surrender”, and “that is why it is using National Investigation Agency (NIA), so that fear is spread among Kashmiris”.
“Associates and relatives of Geelani sahab and Mirwaiz sahab have been detained and others questioned. Traders are being called for questioning. All this is being done to cow us down, but we won’t surrender,” he said.
He said that in north Kashmir, “Bandipora was the worst affected from government oppression”.
Malik said that Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had “even crossed the limits” of pro-government militia commander Kuka Parray. “The Ikhwani Kuka Parray publicly bragged about killing people but he never humiliated Kashmiris like she does,” he said, without naming the chief minister. “This is the language of RSS, but even people from RSS did not ever say it,” he said.
“Let these people from RSS know that Kashmiris will not surrender,” Malik said.