Kashmiri separatists have made it plain that the time has now come for a final settlement of the Kashmir issue.
The fight is no longer over the Amarnath land row that triggered the current turmoil in the state nearly two months ago.
The two factions the Hurriyat Conference headed by hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, respectively, issued a joint statement calling for self-determination and the opening of the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road connecting the two capital cities of Jammu and Kashmir with Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
“We perceive Kashmir has to experience such acts (read terrorism) until the occupation ends and Kashmiris avail their right of self-determination,” the statement said.
Past Wednesday midnight, people in many areas of Srinagar were out raising pro-freedom slogans responding to calls from mosques, which urged people to fill the streets. Speaking to Hindustan Times on the phone from Srinagar, Geelani said the land transfer agitation has led to an “awakening of the masses in Kashmir”.
He said, “Now, people want freedom from Indian occupation. The land issue is a thing of the past. Neither is there any need to talk about this issue nor would I ever talk on the subject to the samiti.”
A sombre Mirwaiz said, “When the paramilitary police forces and police enter and ransack houses and the people are on the streets, it is time to look beyond fire-fighting. It is a decisive moment.”
“Yes, it is a decisive issue on the land and our honour and dignity,” retorts Leela Karan Sharma, convenor of the Shri Amarnath Sangharsh Samiti.