Srinagar, Feb 13: A complete shutdown was Wednesday observed in Kashmir following the Joint Hurriyat’s two-day strike call (Feb 13-14) against the challenge in the Supreme Court on the validity of Article 35-A, which bars people from outside Jammu and Kashmir from acquiring any immovable property in the state.
As per eyewitnesses, all the shops and business establishments were closed across the Valley while as thin movement of private vehicles was seen on roads.
The government forces were deployed in strength at vulnerable places in the city and elsewhere in Kashmir for maintaining ‘law and order’, a police official said.
Various organisations including Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries extended support to the shutdown call of the Joint Hurriyat.
Joint Hurriyat comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik said that “people of Jammu and Kashmir will forcefully resist every challenge by New Delhi to change the demography of the State by rolling back hereditary state subject laws of 1927, being contested in the Supreme Court through their agents.”
In a statement, the spokesman said that the late announcement and ambiguity over the dates of hearing of 35A and 370 by Supreme Court on 13 or 14 of February is “worrisome, and indicates of mischief”.
The leadership warned the authorities that if anything adverse to the interests of the people of J&K and its disputed status is announced through the courts a mass people’s agitation will be started instantly across the state and the responsibility of the consequences of that will be entirely on those forcing us to react, the statement said.
Joint Hurriyat withdraws strike call for today
Srinagar, Feb 13: Joint Hurriyat Leadership Wednesday withdrew the protest strike call against the hearing of Article 35 A case in Supreme Court of India on February 14 (Thursday).
“…the lawyers conveyed to the leadership that in the cause list issued by the Supreme Court at 7 pm on Wednesday, it (ARt 35-A) is not listed for hearing tomorrow,” Joint Hurriyat said in a statement.
The Kashmir bar association led by senior lawyers Mian Qayoom, Zafar Shah, Zaffar Qureshi, Mohammad Ashraf and others are in New Delhi defending the case at the Supreme Court on behalf of the people of J&K.
They are in touch with the leadership.
Joint Hurriyat said the senior lawyers of Bar will be present at the Supreme Court for the whole day on Thursday as well and will closely monitor the case and update the leadership about it.
In times of hatred, Sikh brethren’s efforts spread positive vibes
Srinagar, Feb 20: With Kashmiris facing the heat following the suicide attack in Pulwama, Sikh groups have come to the rescue of Valleyites putting up in various parts of India.
In the aftermath of Lethpora incident in which 49 CRPF troopers were killed last week, there has been a spate of attacks against Kashmiris in Jammu and other parts of India.
Facing threats and harassment, Kashmiris have been forced to leave their education and businesses midway and make efforts to return home.
In these times of worry, Khalsa Aid International, an NGO, has reached out to the distressed students and offered them all possible help.
At least 30 Sikh youth associated with the NGO, have been helping Kashmiris in various parts.
“We evacuated scores of Kashmiris from Dehradun to Mohali and then to Jammu in the past three days. We transported first batch of 100 students and another of 150 from Dehradun to Jammu with proper security. At least 70 more students are on the way to Jammu,” Jeevanjyot Singh, who is associated with Khalsa International told The Kashmir Monitor.
“Eight Kashmiri girls were also sent to Srinagar by air after rescued from Dehradun,” he said.
Jeevanjyot said that Kashmiri students were feeling safe in Punjab.
“They are also provided accommodation at a Gurduwara in 3D1 sector Mohali arranged by the Gurudwara committee,” he said.
The group has provided several helpline numbers for Ambala, Chandigarh and Dehradun.
The role of Sikh youth has been well appreciated on social media in Kashmir and elsewhere.
“The Sikh sangat has gone above & beyond the call of duty in reaching out & helping Kashmiris in distress, whether in Jammu or outside the state,” former J&K CM, Omar Abdullah tweeted on Wednesday.
Mehbooba Makhdoomi, a prominent columnist and researcher, wrote: Kashmir pays gratitude to Sikh community in general & @Khalsa_Aid International in specific for coming to our rescue, at a time when it mattered. “He who does not thank people, does not thank Allah”. Will protect you with our blood, if, God Forbid, the need arises.”
Shinjini, a Twitter user wrote: “These @khalsa guys restore my faith in humanity. At a time when most of the country is going cuckoo, these guys are quietly doing what’s necessary.”
Kabir, a former JNU student, tweeted: “Salutes to @khalsa-Aid, when the streets across India are resonating with hate and malice, the gallant Sikhs came to the rescue of Kashmiris.”
A group of Sikhs from Tral Pulwama have also started free Langer and accommodation for Kashmiris near Jammu bus stand.
“We also have a group of volunteers from Jammu and have been providing all possible help to Kashmiris and many were rescued from mobs,” a Sikh volunteer from Tral told The Kashmir Monitor.
Similarly, the Sikh groups have arranged accommodation at various places in Chandigarh and Jammu for Kashmiris.
One of the students, who returned from Dehradun, said, “Our college authorities told us to leave saying when things get normal they will call us back. There was no safety for us and the crowd outside the campus threatened to beat us up.”
“The state government should make concrete efforts to ensure the safety of Kashmiris, he said adding: “Sikhs really played an important role in rescuing Kashmiri youth from the goons”.
Two Kashmiri shawl vendors attacked on train
New Delhi, Feb 20: Two Kashmiri shawl vendors have claimed they were beaten up and called “stone pelters” by unidentified men on a train, forcing them to cut short their business trip to Rohtak, officials said Wednesday.
The incident comes amid reports of attacks on Kashmiri people in many parts of the country in the aftermath of the February 14 attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama that left 49 personnel dead.
“Three Kashmiri shawl vendors boarded the general compartment of a local train from Sarai Rohilla station at around 10.40 am for a business trip to Sampla in Haryana. They claimed they were pushed into a corner and called ‘stone pelters’,” said Dinesh Gupta, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Railways).
“When they objected, the accused allegedly abused and slapped two Kashmiri vendors. The attackers said ‘you hurl stones there (in Kashmir) and come to earning a livelihood here’. Other passengers also joined in and created a ruckus,” the DCP (Railways) said.
Thereafter, the three Kashmiri men de-boarded at Nangloi station, leaving their bags containing shawls and suits worth around Rs 2 lakh in the train, Gupta added.
A case has been registered and the matter is being probed, he said.
The three men said they came to Delhi in December last year and were staying in Sarai Rohilla. They have been coming here for business purposes for the last 10 years.
The three Kashmiri men approached Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Brinda Karat through their local MLA. Karat helped them file a complaint with police.
“The men claimed the attackers told them they were from the armed forces. They said ‘you are the ones who killed our men’.
“Around 15-20 other men also joined in and beat the Kashmiri men with belts. The incident took place when they were crossing Mangolpuri. One of the three Kashmiris suffered severe head injuries and another sustained wounds on face,” she said.
Police said the attackers were yet to be identified, and it was not clear if they were from the armed forces since they were in plain clothes.
Non-locals protest against attacks on Kashmiris
Srinagar, Feb 20: Dozens of non-locals workers and businessmen putting up in Kashmir Wednesday carried out a peaceful protest against the harassment and attacks meted out to Kashmiris in different parts of India.
A large number of non-locals assembled at Hari Singh High Street here and raised slogans against miscreants attacking the students and businessmen of the valley operating in other states in wake of the Lethpora bombing last week.
They demanded the safety of Kashmiri traders and students outside the valley.
A Kolkata resident, Sushant Shanti, who is running a shop at Hari Singh High Street, told The Kashmir Monitor that they have been living in Kashmir for 25 years and have never faced any threat.
“I strongly condemn the atrocities that our Kashmiri youth and traders are facing outside Kashmir,” said Shanti, adding: “I request my Hindu brothers to ensure the safety of Kashmiris there.”
Another non local shopkeeper at Hari Singh High Street, Rajinder Kumar said: “Our Kashmiri brothers and students who are pursuing education in other states are facing extreme brutality and we strongly condemn this act of cowardice.”
Kumar said that some elements are politicizing the Lethpora incident.
“Whatever happens here, we have always been treated with brotherhood and humanity,” he said.