Senior separatist leader and head of the hardline faction of the Hurriyat Conference, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, has asked people to hold a ‘million march’ to show the world that “Kashmiris are against the Indian occupation”.
The rally, proposed to be held at the Tourist Reception Centre ground in Srinagar on November 7, is being seen as a counter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is scheduled to hold a public gathering in Srinagar on the same day.
Modi’s rally will be his first in the Valley since December last, when his party, the BJP, came to power in the state.
Valley residents are hopeful that Modi will announce the much-awaited package for relief and rehabilitation of flood victims during the rally.
Geelani’s party said their rally would be “Kashmir’s referendum against India”, and amidst apprehensions that it will be disallowed, urged the authorities to allow it. “Geelani saab will invite all the pro-freedom leadership to participate in the rally at TRC to show the world that Kashmiris are against the Indian occupation,” Hurriyat spokesperson Ayaz Akbar said in a statement.
Akbar said the Hurriyat will seek proper permission from the authorities and “are ready to take all responsibilities of law and order in the city.” “We will ensure that people who want to attend the Modi rally are not stopped,” Akbar told the HT.
Meanwhile, the government has decided that offices in the summer capital will remain open till Modi wraps up his Kashmir visit. Traditionally, offices in the Valley close in view of the durbar move on October 31 and open in the winter capital Jammu in early November.
Modi will be visiting the state to inaugurate the Baghlihar-2 hydel project in Jammu region and later fly to Srinagar.