SRINAGAR: “We are proud of our son who sacrificed his life for the nation.” These were the words of the parents of slain pro-freedom leader Sheikh Abdul Aziz who was killed in the police firing during Muzaffarabad march on August 11 this year.
Aziz’s father, Haji Sheikh Salam, 81, is bed-ridden since the killing of his son. “I could only participate in his Nimaz-e-Jinazah and since then I’m bed-ridden. There was sea of people on his fourth day in Pampore, but I had no strength to participate,” Sheikh Salam told Greater Kashmir in his house.
He says that participation of people in elections can’t undermine the sacrifices of the martyrs. “Elections were held in Kashmir for last 60 years. Did it make any difference to the movement? No. Movement is and will remain alive till Kashmir issue was settled according to the aspirations of the people of the state,” he said.
While Sheikh Salam was talking to this scribe, his wife and Sheikh Aziz’s mother, Fatima Begum, was nodding her head to corroborate her husband’s statements.
“Our son had a commitment with the nation and he fulfilled it,” the old couple said with proud.
The whole Sheikh clan boycotted the polls today. Aziz’s younger brother, Sheikh Abdur Rashid, described the participation of people in the election process as a non-issue. “Sentiments of the people can’t be diluted by elections. There was a time when whole Kashmir came to vote for Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah. But sentiment was alive that time and it is alive this time.“If people vote, it is because of fear of troops. At Chahal (Uri) where my brother was martyred, recently a youth was saying on TV that he was voting because of fear. The people, who are voting right now, are the same people who were on roads in lakhs demanding freedom. Now it is because of heavy presence of troops that people are coming to vote.”
Aziz’s nephew, Sheikh Shafiq questioned the credibility of the elections. “1400 pro-freedom people were arrested during last few months while entire leadership is either behind bars or put under house arrest. In democracy everybody has a right to put fore his stand. But why have been Hurriyat people put behind the bars,” he asked.
Shafiq said that several youth of Pampore area were rounded up in the last few days for launching anti-election campaign. “Media has been gagged. People are being intimidated and what sort of credibility these elections have?” he asked.
While moving out of Sheikh’s house, several people of the area were seen talking about Aziz’s martyrdom “How can we vote when our leader has given blood for a cause,” a group of youth said.-SANA