Amid a major police clampdown against separatists, the hard-line All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) led by Sayeed Ali Shah Geelani (83) on Thursday asked people of Kashmir to stock essentials to prepare for a long drawn protest programme against Indian rule.
The radicals have asked supporters to draw anti-India graffiti on Kashmir streets and paste provocative slogans on social networking websites, extending streets protests to the virtual world.
“The eight-day ‘Quit Jammu and Kashmir’ campaign will be launched tomorrow for complete demilitarisation,” said APHC leader Masrat Alam at a secret location in dowtown Srinagar to a selected group of journalists.
Alam, who has survived the police crackdown launched against both the moderate and hardline APHC camps, said: “The new protest campaign has been launched to end exploitation of natural resources by the army, raping and destroying of public property by the security forces.”
The hard-line protest calendar starts with a shutdown tomorrow and ends on July 3. It asks male and female college students to stage protest on different days, organise special prayers and asked women supporters to march towards the ruling National Conference (NC) bastion Pather Masjid on July 1.
Immediately after the press conference, the Superintendent of Police (SP) East, Srinagar, started a search operation to detain Alam, who was released last month after serving a jail period of more than a year and faced Public Safety Acts (PSA) 11 times during that period.
Alam also warned New Delhi against hanging the Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. “Kashmir will burn if he (Guru) is hanged…one week is our ultimatum to the government --- release all political prisoners or face street protest where we will be ready to die.,” warned the separatist leader, who also called for social boycott of Kashmiri police officers if they intervene.
The separatists are planning to launch a 2008-Amarnath-style agitation, where they succeeded in mobilising hundreds of people over allocation of land to the Amarnath shrine board for pilgrimage. This time the separatists want to ride the anger wave sparked off by the killing of three youth by the security forces in the past 10 days time this month.
To prevent that, the police have already arrested both moderate and hardline separatists, including Sayeed Ali Shah Geelani under PSA, Ashraf Sehrai, JKLF chief Yasin Malik and the Mirwaiz Umar Farooq group’s second-rung leadership like Zaffar Akbar Bhat, Abdullah Tarri. The Mirwaiz and other senior leaders continue to be placed under house arrest.
“We were not allowed to hold a meeting for unification of separatists, where we wanted to announce a unified protest programme today. Such undemocratic measures won’t affect our sentiment or resolve,” said the Mirwaiz, who heads moderate APHC.
He said it’s unfortunate that on one hand India is going to talk to Pakistan to resolve issues like Kashmir but on the other “people of the state are being killed, maimed and suppressed persistently”.
Condemning the fresh wave of arrests of political leaders and youth in large numbers under the PSA, the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti said: “The incompetence and ineptitude of the coalition government has resulted in the squeeze of political space and reversal of democratization process in the state.”
June 25: Kashmir shutdown
June 26: Koneet Nazila (special prayers)
June 27: Raising of banner ‘Go India Go’ on walls and social networking sites
June 28: Boys students protest
June 29: Girls students protest
June 30: Protests after sundown prayers
July 1: Pather Masjid chalo
July 2-3: Complete shutdown