Srinagar: Giving the Friday sermon at Srinagar’s historic Jamia Masjid, Kashmir’s chief priest and Hurriyat Conference (M) chairperson Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said that the Government of India after failing to muzzle voices of people of Jammu and Kashmir is now using legal channels and courts to suppress the freedom movement.
“Our hereditary state subject laws are under threat as New Delhi is employing sinister plans to tinker with it,” he said of the petitions in Supreme Court challenging Article 35A of the Indian Constitution that grants special powers to J&K legislature and privileges to J&K citizens.
He said that the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), which comprises the Mirwaiz, Syed Ali Geelani and Yasin Malik, is holding discussions with all sections of society on a strategy to defend 35A. “We are holding discussions with all sections of society including traders, chambers of commerce, transporters, shikara-wallahs, hoteliers’ union, social and religious organisations, civil society members, academicians, ulema, and lawyers,” he said.
Mirwaiz said that during these deliberations it has been decided that a common protest programme be followed to resist the “sinister designs of New Delhi”.
“People should remain mentally ready for a long agitation. To begin with, Jammu and Kashmir including Kargil, Doda, Rajouri, Poonch, Bhaderwah and Kishtwar should observe a complete shutdown on August 26 and 27, like they did on August 5 and 6,” he said.
“In case any untoward decision is given by the Supreme Court, a state-wide agitation will start, the consequences of which will be for the Indian state to bear,” he said.
Mirwaiz condemned the summoning of Geelani and Yasin Malik by the Enforcement Directorate. “After NIA, now the Enforcement Directorate is harassing our leadership including Geelani saab and Yasin Malik,” he said, adding that the people of Kashmir and their leaders can never be cowed down by such threats.
Meanwhile, on the call of the JRL, protests demonstrations were held at Hyderpora and Gaw Kadal in Srinagar against the petitions challenging 35A and the plight of Kashmiri prisoners in various jails in and outside the state. At Gaw Kadal, the protest demonstration was led by Yasin Malik.
Addressing the people gathered for the protest, Malik said that the people of Jammu and Kashmir will not let anyone turn their land into another Palestine, where original inhabitants were thrown out by Israeli occupation and enslaved. “State subject laws guarantee our unique identity and right to self-determination. Defending them is the duty of every inhabitant of Jammu and Kashmir,” Malik said.
Holding placards, the protesters led by Malik raised pro-freedom slogans. “Any change in demography of Jammu Kashmir is detrimental to all inhabitants of this land and people of Jammu and Kashmir will spill their blood to safeguard the uniqueness of this land,” Malik said.
On the plight of Kashmiri prisoners, Malik said that thousands of young and old had been put behind bars and were being tortured physically and mentally.
At Hyderpora, senior Hurriyat (G) leader Bilal Sidiqui spoke of the “nefarious designs of India to get rid of state subject laws and the Muslim-majority character of the state.” Terming “Indian rhetoric and stubbornness” as the main obstacle in resolving the Kashmir dispute, he said that the demand for right to self-determination was democratic, political and legitimate in all respects.
Various other speakers condemned the “inhuman treatment” meted out to Kashmiri prisoners in jails and the demand was raised for a probe by Amnesty International, International Red Cross, Human Rights Watch and Human Rights Commission of the UN
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