Srinagar, November 24: After using the agenda of shutdowns for longest period of time as a strategy to get heard, the separatist leaders in Srinagar have woken up and now thinking of some “alternate means” of protest. They have now realised that these frequent shutdown calls are only alienating them from the people they want to address.
Many people in the valley have welcomed this development. According to these people, the people in Kashmir have now changed their attitude towards the politics of shutdowns which is a very good news. These shutdowns have resulted in senseless loss of innocent lives over the last eight years.
The exercise to think of “alternate means” of protest was initiated through day-long discussions on Twitter by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chairman of the moderate faction of Hurriyat Conference. He called thi an attempt to “bridge the gap” between people and Hurriyat leadership. During the deliberations, there suggestion, criticisms and questions over the agenda of separatist to protest through shutdowns and its failures.
During an open discussion on Twitter, a student asked Mirwaiz, “Will the anniversary hartals and failed chalos lead us to freedom?” to which he replied, “At times, hartal becomes the only option, but I agree we have to look for alternative means of protest.”
The political advisor to Mirwaiz Umar Farooq,” Shahid-ul-Islam said, “For years now, people have been asking us on social media why can’t you come up with an alternative strategy, instead of giving strike calls?”
“We also realised the mode of protest has to change as our society is witnessing an unprecedented change in recent times. And it is not that everyone has been praising us. People have been speaking about Hurriyat and every criticism is valid if it is constructive,” Islam added.
Clearly, the boat of moderate faction of Hurriyat Conference is sinking and this is Mirwaiz’s last attempt to save it. However, at the larger level, the Hurriyat leadership has understood that these frequent hartal calls and protest calendars have now become outdated because these have been putting the lives of common people under unnecessary strain. These moves were deployed previously to make a point but they have not only resulted in senseless bloodshed but have given a lethal blow to the economy of the state.