Hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani on Sunday called for a shutdown in Kashmir on Republic Day.
The chairman of the hardline faction of the Hurriyat asked people to observe a shutdown from 5pm on January 25. “Observe the day as a black day, organise protests and raise Go India Go back slogan,” he said in a press statement.
Geelani also asked people not to send their children to participate in R-Day celebrations, which he said would be organised “for the army and police personnel who have been responsible for killing our children”.
The Valley has been tense in the run-up to Republic Day this year because the Bhartiya Janata Yuva Morcha, the BJP’s youth wing, has declared that its members will hoist the national flag at the Lal Chowk in Srinagar. Separatist groups have opposed the BJP’s plans.
Moderate separatist leader Yasin Malik, chairman of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), has questioned the BJP’s motive for the flag-hoisting decision and vowed not to let it happen.
“BJP didn’t come to Kashmir ever with a flag during their five years in office, why now?’’ Malik asked.
He said when the BJP was in power, it spoke to separatists raising hopes that the peace process was the party’s baby. “However, they are calling it (peace process) an illegitimate child now. They have instead waged a war against Kashmiris. This is political dishonesty,’’ he said, adding, “They can’t use us to gain votes.’’