Gaza situation fuels anger in Valley; people take to streets

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Srinagar
  • Updated: Jul 15, 2014 13:38 IST

The growing civilian death toll in Palestine’s Gaza area, on Monday sparked protests, call for boycott to Israeli products and immediate end to attacks on civilians in the Kashmir Valley.

Hundreds of students took to the streets and marched around the city centre Lal Chowk. Raising slogans like ‘Down down Israel, save Gaza’, the protesters set alight Israel flags as around 170 people, mainly civilians, are left dead in weeklong aerial attacks on the Gaza population.

The police swooped on protesting employees when a rally organised by the members of Employees Joint Action Committee (EJAC), led by Abdul Qayoon Wani, torched flags of Israel.

“We demanded an end to innocent killings in Gaza,” said an agitating employee.

There were reports of demonstrations from several towns of north and south Kashmir too.

Hardline Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Geelani has called for more protests on July 15 and 18.

“The college and university students are asked to wear black arm bands to show solidarity with subjugated people of Palestine. No one among the children killed in Palestine is a Malala Yousaf Zai, whose death could have melted the hearts of Obama and David Cameron,” said Geelani.

Fearing more protests from the students, the state government on Monday hurriedly declared summer vacations.

“All government institutions up to higher secondary level in Kashmir division shall observe summer vacations from July 15 to 31,” a local daily quoted the officials from education department.

Meanwhile, moderate Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Jamaat-eIslami has called for a boycott of goods manufactured by Israeli companies.

“There should be a complete boycott of Israeli products. Even the dates are being imported from Israel. Traders are asked to identify such products and boycott them,” said the Mirwaiz, while condemning, what he called “slaughter of unarmed civilians in illegal and unjustified war on Gaza”.

While the separatists are calling for the boycott of Israel goods, ruling mainstream party National Conference (NC) leaders are circulating gory videos and pictures on social networking sites to elicit protests from locals.

NC leader Salman Ali Sagar, son of rural minister Ali Muhammad Sagar, changed his display picture with a Gaza picture in solidarity.

“The NC condemns in the strongest of terms the atrocities and war-crimes being committed by Israeli forces in Gaza and has expressed solidarity with the people of Palestine,” said NC provincial president Nasir Aslam Wani at the party headquarters at Nawa-e-Subah Complex.

“It is the holy month of Ramadan and in spite of this Israel has waged an unjust and despicable war,” he added.

In New Delhi, members of Parliament of opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) staged a walkout from the Lok Sabha.

PDP members Mehbooba Mufti and Tariq Hameed Karra urged the speaker “that the House should unanimously condemn the Israeli aggression in Gaza continuing since July 8.”

“The world’s largest democracy India can’t remain a mute spectator to this naked aggression by Israel. A massive humanitarian crisis has erupted in Gaza and as a regional power India has to use its influence to safeguard the lives and property of the innocent Palestinians,” Mehbooba told the House.

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