Srinagar: A protest shutdown called by separatists affected life across the Kashmir Valley on Tuesday.
Senior separatist leaders including Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, Muhammad Yasin Malik, Asiya Andrabi and others called for a shutdown on Tuesday against landing of the Indian Army in Jammu and Kashmir on October 27, 1947 following the accession of the state with India by the then Dogra maharaja, Hari Singh.
The separatists who are fighting for secession of the state, have asked the people to observe October 27 as a “black day”.
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Shops, public transport, businesses and educational institutions remained closed in Srinagar and all other district headquarters in the Valley.
Attendance in government offices, banks and post offices was thin due to non-availability of public transport.
Private vehicles and auto-rickshaws, however, plied on roads in some areas of Srinagar city.
Authorities have placed separatist leaders including Geelani and Mirwaiz under house arrest in the city, but no restrictions have been imposed anywhere on public movement today (Tuesday).
Contingents of police and paramilitary central reserve police force (CRPF) have been deployed in full riot gear in the areas of the valley.
What happened on 27 Oct 1947?
October in Kashmir valley always evoke mixed response. On one side is the high pitched separatist induced call for observance of 27 Oct as ‘Black Day’ in commemoration of the landing of first Indian troops in Srinagar and, on the other side is the rational call of those patriotic Kashmiris who know the harsh reality of October; ie October of 1947. It was on 22 Oct 1947 when the enemies of Kashmir invaded the peace loving ‘Jannat’ of Iqbal and unleashed the reign of plundering, looting and dishonoring the Hindu and Muslim women alike, as the hapless forces of Maharaja were trampled. It was against this background of barbarity of the tribal raiders, aided and abetted by the Pakistani Army that, Maharaja of Kashmir abrogated the standstill agreement with Pakistan and signed the instrument of accession with India. And it was to safeguard the honour of the Kashmiris that the Indian Army was flown in on the makeshift runway in Srinagar. Pakistan since then, has not been able to digest this fact and has unleashed a war of terror in the garb of Jihad in Kashmir.
Changing Priorities in Kashmir
But today is the new dawn. Over last several years people of Kashmir have become well aware of the true intentions and capabilities of Indian Nation, separatists and Pakistan. They cannot be hoodwinked further. They have seen ill-equipped, ill clad but motivated Indian Army in the October of 1947 standing shoulder to shoulder with the Kashmiri brethren against the calamity of the tribal invasion. And this year yet again, during the calamity of floods they saw their Army and Airforce jawans, without caring for their own homes which were well under the waters of the Jhelum, reaching out to the populace to provide them with the much needed succor. And during these times of need where were the Separatists? Where was Pakistani aided Hurriyat? Oh yes, they were busy, very busy organizing what they do best; trying to motivate the local youth to throw stones at the boats and helicopters who came for the rescue of a common Kashmiri or snatching boats and relief material from astonished Jawans of NDRF that too, in full public gaze. It is hard to imagine the scale of human life loss and unimaginable suffering that the Kashmiri would have had to undergo, had these anti Kashmiri activities of the separatists succeeded.
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It is no wonder then that, the yearly Shutdown call given by the hurriyat on 27 Oct this year met with such a muted response from the local populace. Except for certain pockets in Srinagar, which observed shutdown for a few hours, people in rest of Kashmir did not pay much attention to the call. Not only in India but far away in London too, the rants of Kashmir by Bilawal Bhutto were met with boos and eggs at Trafalgar and ‘bhagbillobhag’ on the twitter. In fact, young Bhutto had to cut short his speech and be led away under tight protection. Also, indicative of changing times was observance of 22 Oct as a ‘Black Day’ by Jammu and Kashmir Youth Development Forum (JKYDF) a non-political forum, to mark the 67th anniversary of tribal invasion of the Kashmir Valley by Pakistan Army backed tribals. What are these indicators pointing to? Is change of heart happening in Kashmir? Are people fed up of the double standards of hurriyat and machinations of Pakistan? Probably, too early to say but, one thing is certain that, today’s well read, upward looking and a progressive Kashmiri is wise. He knows on what path lies the progress of Kashmir and with whom destruction!
Islamabad Highway has this huge banner namecalling the day:
— Kashmir Lobby Group (@kashmir4pak) October 27, 2015