Curtain comes down on Kashmir unrest – slowly

Separatists on Wednesday decided to trim their week-long protest shutdown to two days a week, thus slowly bringing the curtain down on a bloody agitation they spearheaded for five months in the Kashmir Valley which claimed some 100 lives.

Hurriyat sources told IANS that the over five-month-long protest shutdown is likely to be called off partially.

The separatist troika of Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik in a statement said they were working out “a plan for transition from weekly protest calendars to a year-long” chain of events “to consolidate our gains and build upon them in order to move ahead further”.

“The peoples’ uprising of the last six months has taken the freedom struggle forward. It has opened out the possibilities and the scope of our struggle and we have moved closer to our goal,” the statement said.

Indicating that the separatists have realised that protests and shutdowns cannot be carried on endlessly, the statement said the “way forward” now lay in “a long term sustainable strategy” that has “minimum costs for the people”.

It said the leaders were trying to reach out to all sections of the society to “discuss the idea, seek their suggestions and their assurance of participation and support to the year-long plan”.

The troika has been spearheading the valley-wide protest shutdown since July 9, a day after Hizbul commander Burhan Wani was killed by security forces.

Initially, the separatists issued weekly protest calendars asking people to resume activities for barely a few hours in a week. This was later modified to a day’s relaxation.

The unrest — the deadliest in six years — has also left over 12,000 persons, including security men, injured.

Around 150 people injured by pellets fired from pump action guns by the security forces face the prospect of permanent blindness.

By IANS

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