Indo-Pak Affairs

Double standards: Protestors get bullets in Srinagar, rioters go scot-free in Jammu; Agitation first step towards ultimate goal: Geelani

SRINAGAR: While five youth were killed in the paramilitary CRPF and police firing in Srinagar during the past eight days of public uprising, police in Jammu acted a ‘mute spectators’ when rightwing Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) activists torched two vehicles and manhandled Kashmiri drivers in Jammu. Areas in Jammu like Jewal Chowk, Tawi Bridge and Janipur erupted with protests against the Government with rightwing BJP and VHP activists warning the government not to revoke the land transfer order.

The BJP activists resorted to violence at Tawi Bridge and set ablaze two vehicles one of which belonged to a Muslim. The protesters were raising pro-SASB and anti-Government slogans as they marched from various parts of Jammu city. They also targeted Kashmiri drivers who had ferried passengers from Srinagar to Jammu.

“The moment I reached Jammu, I was surrounded by fanatic BJP and VHP activists. They quizzed me and when I told them that I came from Kashmir, they asked the passengers travelling in my vehicle to come out. They later tried to torch my vehicle. I resisted and managed to escape, but not before receiving blows on my face,” Nazir Ahmad, a Tata Sumo driver who reached Srinagar late Tuesday evening told Rising Kashmir.

He said while the fanatic BJP and VHP activists were harassing him, the policemen on duty nearby acted as mute spectator. “The policemen did not fire a single tear smoke canister or a bullet even in air to disperse the mob. There was a heavy deployment of police and paramilitary CRPF but they loved seeing us at the receiving end and acted while our vehicles were torched,” Ahmad said.

Terming the role of police in Jammu as “criminal”, President Action Committee Against Land Transfer (ACALT) Mian Abdul Qayoom blamed the police for conspiring to trigger communal frenzy in the State. “Police is hand-in-glove with the Jammu’s extremists. They want to divide the people of Jammu and Kashmir on communal lines,” he said. Qayoom said torching vehicles and beating Muslims of Jammu is a move aimed to spark communal frenzy in the State. “This is what government wants. So why should police use force to control BJP and VHP activists,” he said. “BJP and VHP’s mission is clear. They want to communalise the entire Jammu.”He said BJP and VHP had no justification to ask the government not to revoke the controversial land transfer order. “It was our land that had been virtually sold to the Amarnath shrine board,” he said.

Seconding Qayoom, Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) Coordinator Khuram Pervez said, “New Delhi knows that it is the people of Kashmir who would continue to fight against the illegal occupation of Kashmir. Jammu extremists are tying to create a divide between Kashmiris and Jammuites.” On the inaction of police in Jammu while BJP and VHP activists manhandled Muslims and damaged their vehicles, Pervez said, “It goes in the favour of the Government. The Government is of the belief that at least BJP and VHP are there to counter Kashmiri people but they won’t succeed.

Terming agitation against land as first step towards the “ultimate goal”, Chairman of Hurriyat Conference (G) Syed Ali Shah Geelani has asserted that people of Kashmir are against the “occupation” and can “revolt anytime”. “This awakening should help us achieve our ultimate goal,” Geelani told a massive gathering at Nowhatta in old city here.“SASB land transfer issue is just a beginning. We will fight for eight lakh kanal of land that is under army’s occupation. We will fight till the last Indian trooper leaves this place,” said Geelani.

Pointing towards the teenagers and youngsters, the veteran leader said, “This is an indication that youngsters are not ready to succumb and they are ready to even sacrifice their lives for the cause. Blood of those martyred in these protests and all those who sacrificed their lives for the movement will not go in a vain. People of J&K will never give legitimacy to Indian occupation.”

Geelani urged the masses to maintain calm and stage peaceful protests. “People should show sense of maturity and restraint. They should observe strike when asked for and also resume their day to day life when appealed.”Geelani also asked the people to cooperate with the Action Committee Against Land Transfer (ACALT).

Earlier Geelani took out a massive procession from his Hyderpora residence this morning. Geelani atop white ambassador car along with his supporters raising pro-freedom slogans proceeded towards the old city.As the procession marched, number of people kept swelling. Hundreds of youth joined the procession.

Geelani along with hundreds of protesters visited the house of Sameer Ahmad Batloo, who fell prey to the bullets of paramilitary CRPF last week, and expressed solidarity with the bereaved family. Hundreds of people participated in the procession that started from the civil lines areas and marched through the old city. The protesters raised slogans in favor of “Islam, Pakistan, freedom, unification, militants and against India, pro-India political parties, politicians and shrine board.”

Procession of hundreds rallied through the streets of Nawab Bazar, Rajouri Kadal, Nowhatta, Khanyar, Khankahi Mohallah, Fateh Kadal, Karfali Mohalla and also in some areas of uptown. Youngsters were regularly making hurdles and raising slogans in rhythm. People once again quenched the thirst of protestors with cold drinks. Hymning the rhythmic lyrics of Alama Iqbal’s poetry, people were seen all involved in the procession. Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai, Raja Mehrajuddin, Masarat Alam , Advocate Muhammad Shafi Reshi, Muhammad Shafi Lone, Farida Behanji, General Moosa, Khan Sopoori, Muhammad Yusuf Nadeem, Muhammad Yusuf Falahi participated in the procession.-SANA

About the author

Rubab Saleem

Rubab Saleem is Editor of Pakistan Times

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