The J-K government's expectations of simmering down of street protests in the wake of Ramzan, the Islamic holy month of fasting, seem ill-founded. The separatists, both moderates and hardliners, have threatened to continue with demonstrations, shutdowns and protest marches.
"We will continue with protests. There are many battles won by the Muslims in this holy month in the past…Next protest calendar will be issued after taking a stock of the ground situation," said hardline All Parties Hurriyat Conference chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani.
The Hurriyat has been releasing a protest calendar every Saturday in the last two months. Many people and the authorities were expecting fewer protests during Ramzan, when Valley residents are mostly busy praying and preparing for the dawn and dusk rituals.
The Hurriyat seems hell bent to continue with protests even in the holy month. "Our struggle is passing through a decisive phase where every house has become our office and every individual our worker and colleague. They (security forces) are destined to lose this war. It is better for the local police to live in accordance with the collective thinking of people," said senior Hurriyat leader Masrat Alam, who is emerging as a new face of street anger.
Echoing Alam's words United Jehad Council chief Syed Salahuddin has also called on the people to take to the streets and stage protests. "The Kashmir movement has entered into a decisive phase. I urge people to come out on roads and stage protests," Salahuddin said in a telephonic address at a Pampore rally recently.
Moderate Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has threatened to defy security restriction on Friday (tomorrow) to perform prayers. "I call upon all to march towards Jamia Masjid to perform prayers defying all restrictions," said the Mirwaiz in a statement. The Mirwaiz has not been allowed to offer Friday prayers at the historic Jamia Masjid for the last six weeks by the authorities.
The hardliner separatists, led by Geelani, have also called for a shutdown on Friday. The valley has been reeling under protests and curfews for the last two months,completely crippling the state's economy, academic session and governance.
In the past, militants have on many occasions offered ceasefire in Ramzan and separatists would also cut on rallies. But this time it seems separatists are hell bent to continue with the agitation.