Geelani caged, Malik leads protest at Poloview, Mirwaiz at Jamia Masjid, Sumjhi at Hyderpora, Clashes in old city, demos at various district headquarters

Greater Kashmir

Protests continue to roil Kashmir

Geelani caged, Malik leads protest at Poloview, Mirwaiz at Jamia Masjid, Sumjhi at Hyderpora, Clashes in old city, demos at various district headquarters

Abid Bashir

Srinagar,

Aug 4 2018
A series of protests were held across the state on Friday in defence of Article 35A, the case against which is coming up for hearing in Supreme Court on August 6. The protestors vowed to protect the constitutional provision which defines citizenship rights of the people of J&K and forbids outsiders to settle in the state.

The separatist leaders, who led many of these protests in Srinagar, warned of a mass agitation in case the article 35 A is fiddled with.

In old Srinagar, protests began after Friday prayers. The protestors held placards displaying messages like “Ready to defend article 35 A with blood, No compromise with special status.”
In various masjids across Kashmir, Imams strongly condemned those who have submitted the petition in the Supreme Court seeking abrogation of Article 35 A.

Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik led a huge procession at Bilal Masjid at the the Bund near Poloview here. Addressing the protestors Malik said that the Kashmiri people will protect their identity and citizenship rights with their blood.

“We will not allow any meddling with the state subject laws. Kashmiris can’t be forced to surrender,” he said. “A mass agitation will be started in case decision goes against the interests of people of Kashmir on August 6.”

Malik said that by participating in peaceful protests, every segment of Kashmiri society, be that lawyers, traders, transporters and hoteliers proved that Kashmiri people can’t tolerate any assault on their state subject rights.

“On August 5, 6, people will sit indoors and Kashmiri roads should present a deserted look against the attack on article 35A,” he said. The protestors were holding placards displaying slogans: “No compromise with State Subject Laws, Assault on J&K’s citizenship rights unacceptable.”

Another major procession was taken out at Maisuma area of civil lines. The protest was led by vice-chairman JKLF Advocate Bashir Ahmed Bhat and senior JKLF leader Noor Muhammad Kalwal. A witness said that the protestors were shouting slogans in favour of Article 35 A. The protestors tried to march towards Lal Chowk but were pushed back by the forces.

Chairman Hurriyat Conference (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, also led a peaceful protest march outside the Jamia Masjid. He started by raising pro-freedom and pro-Islam slogans. Addressing the protestors, Mirwaiz said roll back of Article 35 A is unacceptable and every citizen of J&K will defend it with his blood and resilience.

“On August 5, 6, there will be civil curfew across the state. All institutions will remain shut in protest against the assault on Article 35-A,” said Mirwaiz, who is the key leader of Joint Resistance Leadership. “Nobody should walk on streets and there should be complete civil curfew. We will not allow any move to dilute the disputed nature of Kashmir issue. We will not allow anybody to change the demography of the state. And if any decision is announced against the interests of Kashmiri people on August 6, at the very movement every Kashmiri will hit the streets in protests and a mass agitation will be started.”

He said that the “voice against rolling back article 35 A was not the voice of people of Kashmir only, but the voice of people of all three regions including Kargil, Ladakh, Chenab Valley and Jammu.”

The protestors later marched towards Rajouri Kadal where forces intercepted them and resorted to firing of tear gas shelling to disperse the protestors, who pelted forces with stones and bricks. The intermittent clashes were on in Rajouri Kadal which later spread r to other adjacent areas of the old city.

Another major protest was led by senior Hurriyat Conference (G) leader Ghulam Nabi Sumji at Hydepora after Friday prayers. Addressing the protestors including women and children, Sumji said that mass protests across Kashmir have sent a loud and clear message to Delhi that the people of Kashmir shall resist, to their full capacity the ploy to change the Muslim majority status of the state.

Chairman International Forum for Justice Muhammad Ahsan Untoo joined the protest of Gold dealers and Traders at Hari Singh High Street and vowed his support to them in fighting for the protection of article 35 A. “We will not allow abrogation of our citizenship rights come what may,” he said.

At various masjids across Kashmir, Imams asked people to resist every move aimed at changing the demography of the state by rolling back the article 35-A. At the revered shrine of Hazratbal, that houses the holy relic of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), Dr Kamaal Ahmed Farooqui said that people of Kashmir will prefer dying than accepting any change in the state subject laws.

“We must remain cautious and ready to face the challenge. We will not allow any change in our citizenship rights,” he said.

Patron of Karwan-e-Islami Alama Ghulam Rasool Hami in his Friday speech also stressed the need of protecting the J&K’s citizenship rights.

“The special status of the state has time and again been eroded and the fresh assault is on the Article 35A. It is high time to stay united and to protest in unison against all ploys aimed at changing the demography of the state,” Alama Hami told reporters here.

Meanwhile, reports from various district headquarters also suggested that protests were held against the petition filed by a Delhi based NGO against Article 35-A. A witness said that All Traders and Manufacturers Association Anantnag, the South Kashmir Civil Society and South Kashmir Sumo Transporters staged a protest. He said that district Bar Association Anantnag and other organisations also joined the protest.

“The protest march started from the office of all traders and manufactures association Lal Chowk Anantnag that passed through different streets, markets and culminated at DC office Anantnag peacefully,” the witness said.