SRINAGAR: Amid marked improvement in the situation, separatist leaders, who are spearheading the ongoing agitation in the Valley triggered by the killing of 21-year-old Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani on July 8, on Wednesday hinted at calling off over-five month-long shutdown saying they are working on a plan for transition from weekly protest calendars to a long term plan of programs and initiatives.
They announced five-day breaks in the shutdown.
In a joint statement, separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik, issued a new “weekly protest shutdown” calendar and announced five-day relaxation in shutdown in the week.
They asked people to observe strike only for two days – Friday and Saturday.
Kashmir has been witnessing unrest and shutdown since killing of Burhan on July 8. At least 94 people have been killed, more than 13000 injured and over 8000 people arrested during the over five-month long unrest in the Valley.
After Burhan’s killing, separatists have been issuing weekly protest and shutdown calendars. For over four months, separatists did not announce any relaxation in shutdown. The separatists had even not relaxed shutdown on Eid-ul-Aza, the Muslim holy festival, which was celebrated in September.
On November 17, separatists for the first time during the unrest announced two full-day relaxation in shutdown. Since then, they have relaxing shutdown on weekend.
The relaxation in shutdown for five days will bring a major relief for people of the Valley especially to traders and transporters, who have borne the maximum brunt of the continuous shutdown.
In the joint statement, Geelani, Mirwaiz and Malik said the leadership is working on a plan for transition from weekly protest calendars to a long term plan of programs and initiatives.
“The the last six months long agitation has taken our freedom struggle forward and opened out the possibilities and scope of our struggle and we have moved closer to our goal,” they said.
The leaders said now it is time to consolidate the gains and build upon them in order to move ahead further.
“In this regard, the leadership feels that a long-term sustainable strategy based on proactive initiatives, programs and sustainable modes of protest with maximum public participation in their creation and implementation and minimum costs for the people, is the way forward,” they said.
Geelani, Mirwaiz and Malik said since most of the separatist leaders have been caged and hurdles being put to thwart and sabotage every move by force by authorities, the announcement of the transition plan may take some more time.