Separatists hint at continuing shutdown in Kashmir

Kashmir has been witnessing unrest and shutdown since July 9, a day after the killing of  Hizbul commander Burhan Wani.

Published: 08th November 2016 08:28 PM  |   Last Updated: 08th November 2016 08:28 PM   |  A+A-

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Syed Ali Geelani. (File photo: PTI)

Express News Service

SRINAGAR: The separatist leaders, who are spearheading the four month-long agitation in the Valley, on Tuesday hinted at continuing the shutdown after their joint meeting with the stakeholders including traders and educationists. 

Separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik today held a joint meeting with representatives of religious, political, social organizations, traders, transporters, educationists, intellectuals, lawyers and civil society members.

The meeting was called by three separatist leaders to seek suggestions from the stakeholders whether to continue the shutdown, which completed four months today or announce day breaks in the strike. 

Kashmir has been witnessing unrest and shutdown since July 9, a day after the killing of 21-year-old Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.

At least 92 people have been killed, more than 13000 injured and over 8000 arrested in four months of unrest in the Valley.

Sources said during the five-hour long marathon meeting, the stakeholders gave their suggestions to separatist leaders on how to go ahead and continue the “struggle”.

They said some stakeholders expressed concern over the continuous shutdown and suffering of education and urged the separatist leaders to safeguard the economic interests of people and education of children.

“Some others wanted continuation of the strike till the arrested youth were released, cases against them withdrawn and civilian killings probed and those involved in such killings punished,” sources said.

After the meeting, Mirwaiz told reporters that they heard suggestions of all the stakeholders, who reposed their trust in them. 

“We will be meeting in a day or two to take a final call and come up with a comprehensive protest program,” he said.

A joint statement issued by Geelani, Mirwaiz and Malik in the evening said all participants authorized them with their full mandate and support to continue the struggle. 

It said the participants stressed on the people and stakeholders, in particular, to be aware of the nefarious designs of the “oppressor”, who exploit them through many tools. 

“The stakeholders said economic losses, educational hiccups and social constraints are part of the movement and we all should overcome them collectively with firmness, wisdom, and patience. It was unanimously decided that the programs should be followed in letter and spirit and whosoever violated it should be convinced and conveyed that discipline and resilience have to be adopted for achieving our goal as our freedom struggle is nourished by the sacred blood of our martyrs,” the joint statement said.

The separatist leaders will be issuing the weekly protest calendar tomorrow and, according to sources, there would be no day break in the shutdown.

“The shutdown would be relaxed in evening hours as is being done. However, the day break is out of contention,” they said.

The separatists have been issuing weekly protest shutdown calendars from July 9 and announcing evening breaks in shutdown. However, there has been no day break in shutdown in last four months in the Valley and even shutdown remained in force even on the Muslim festival of Eid-ul-Adha. 

Due to the continuous shutdown, the educational institutions including schools and colleges in Kashmir have remained closed from last four months. 

The State government has decided to conduct the annual examination of 10th and 12th class students this month with 50 percent syllabus-cut.

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