Strike Calls The Only Option With People: Hurriyat

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Nonsense, Meaningless Form Of Protest: NC  

Srinagar – Agreeing that the strikes affected the common man, Hurriyat Conference (G) Thursday said they didn’t have any other option to articulate their grievances against India. On the other hand, the ruling National Conference termed strikes as “senseless” and “meaningless” form of protest.

Talking to Kashmir Observer, Hurriyat Conference (G) spokesman, Ayyaz Akbar, said strikes were the only option the government had left with the people.

“We don’t have any other option to show our resentment against India,” he said, adding “we know people are affected.” He termed today’s bandh against the president of India, Pranab Mukeerjee’s visit to Kashmir, as a “referendum” to India indicating that people were against its “occupation”. “The strike conveyed a message to the president that people are against India.”

He said resort to bandhs has becomes necessary to keep the “sentiment” alive. “We have only two options either to resort to strikes to keep the movement alive or to surrender before India,” Ayyaz said, demanding that restrictions on the movement of Hurriyat leaders be lifted and those in jails be set free.

“Let the government give us free space to express ourselves,” he said. Ayyaz blamed the government for politicizing the education system here for which Kashmir University had become their (government’s) launching pad. He said, “For convocations in the universities outside Kashmir, top notch scientists and academicians are invited, but to legalize the occupation, such occasions in Kashmir are hijacked by India.”
On the other hand, the additional general-secretary of ruling NC, Mustafa Kamaal, termed the strikes as “nonsense” and “meaningless” exercises.  

“Strikes have lost their relevance here,” he told Kashmir Observer, adding today’s bandh had no justification. “The head of the country was on his visit here, minimum courtesy should have been shown to him,” he said, adding “the strike is unfortunate and uncalled for. Whether anybody likes it or not, India is part of the dispute with our neighbour.”

He termed the strike as discourteous to the nation. He said “Crux of the matter is that people are suffering.”  Kamal said “Bandhs are strong measures of registering protest, but calling strikes on each and every issue has reduced these (strikes) to a farce.”

“Don’t they (Hurriyat) have shame that it will hurt the president,” he said, adding people were not their slaves.

Kamaal said to protect the lives and property of people, the government imposes ‘restrictions’. “People don’t protest against restrictions, because they know it is for their safety,” he said calling upon the Hurriyat leaders to give in writing that their protests would be peaceful. Only then, government would set them free.

Senior Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader and former deputy chief minister, Muzaffar Husain Baig said observing strikes on the visit of any constitutional functionary of India would not help resolve any issue. “Kashmir issue can be resolved only through dialogue and by adopting democratic methods to express both our aspirations and grievances,” he said, adding such moves widened the gap between the decision makers and the people of Kashmir, which can be detrimental to the process of dialogue and reconciliation.

On the restrictions, which the government imposes on the free movement of people, Baig said the observance of bandh and “unreasonable” restrictions on the people by the government were equally responsible for increasing the trust deficit between India and the people of Kashmir.

Baig complemented the students of Kashmir University for demonstrating rational and democratic approach on Pranab Mukerjee’s visit to the campus. “We welcome the fact that there was no disturbance and protest in the university, though some elements had threatened to do so,” he said.

Senior separatist leader and chairman of Democratic Freedom Party (DFP), Shabir Shah, said by resorting to strikes people wanted to convey a message to the world that everything was not fine here.

“We observe such days as black days. After all, president of India is the head of the occupational forces, so obliviously we give the reaction.” He said that he did not believe in strikes, but these (strikes) are the only option. “I am not giving strike calls, but
it is an option,” he said. “We are running a peaceful movement and the world knows it,” Shah said and questioned why the government did not allow their free moment.

“Let the government set us free and there will be no bandh after that,” he said, adding people did suffer, but only because of the government.

However, Aijaz Dar, a student of Political Science at the Kashmir University, believes that both the government and the separatists had adopted wrong methods vis-a-vis the Kashmir issue.. 

“Separatists always use bandh as the last option, while as the government always puts curbs on the rights of people by using curfew and other methods” he said, adding “I

believe both should allow people to express their view. The government shouldn’t use undemocratic means to curb the rights of people and Hurriyat should stop hartal politics as it is ultimately the common man who suffers.”

Separatist-turned-mainstream politician, Sajjad Gani Lone, refused to comment on the issue saying it was “controversial.” “It is a controversial issue, I don’t want to comment on it,” he said

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