Separatists have called people to observe a ‘martyrs week’ in Kashmir valley starting with a strike on June 11 in memory of the youth who lost their lives in the summer of 2010 triggered by the death of a school boy Tufail Ahmad Matoo.
Hard-line separatist leader Syed Ali shah Geelani has announced an elaborate program from June 11 to June 17 in memory of “all Kashmiri martyrs including 125 innocent students who were killed during 2010 mass movement in Kashmir.”
While moderate separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq termed “the cold-blooded murders of young souls” as “Indian army’s war crimes in Kashmir”.
Matoo, a class 12 student, was killed in a cricket stadium after a tear gas shell fired by police hit him in Rajouri Kadal area of old city on June 11, 2010.The death triggered mass protests across Kashmir prompting the police and CRPF, then unknown to non-lethal methods of crowd control, to use bullets against stone pelting boys.
On the call of Geelani, Kashmir was shut for about five months during the unrest with government imposing harsh curfew for months together and imposing restrictions on the distribution of news. Over 120 youth, most of them school going boys, were killed as stone-pelting spiralled against the gun-wielding police and CRPF.
As against the relatively peaceful year of 2011 in which separatists remained reticent, this year they have decided otherwise. Besides appealing people to make the strike call a success, Geelani’s Hurriyat will organize a seminar titled ‘Don’t forget our blood’ on June 14.The veteran leader wants a collective prayer assembly on June 17 at Eid Gah – Martyrs’ Graveyard in old city.
The Hurriyat has also appealed the Imams of all mosques to organize special prayers and take oath of reaffirmation that “nobody would be allowed to make a sell-out with the blood of martyrs.”
Although Geelani has been put under house arrest, the government is treading cautiously in its response. Besides there is a huge presence of tourists in the valley.
Kashmir Divisional Commissioner, Asghar Samoon told Hindustan Times that the administration would be monitoring the situation keenly. “We don’t want to put unnecessary restrictions on people but if need arises or somewhere people come out on roads we will deal with them accordingly,” Samoon said.