SRINAGAR – Hurriyat (G) Chairman, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, on Thursday called for a general strike on June 25 to protest the arrival of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and press for the return of the mortal remains of Maqbool Bhat and Afzal Guru.
Geeleai said the strike would also be a symbolic protest of Kashmiris against the government decision of increasing the duration of Amarnat yatra to fifty five days. He, however, added, that no one was against the yatra or its faith.
“I appeal to the people of the state to observe a complete general strike on the day the Prime Minister arrives here,” he said at a press conference held at his Hyderpora residence.
Geelani said the strike would be observed to remind the Government of India and the world that Kashmir was an unresolved dispute.
“Besides, we also want to press for our demand of the return of the mortal remains of Mohammad Afzal Guru and Mohammad Maqbool Bhat,” he said.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is scheduled to visit the state on June 25 to inaugurate the Qazigund-Banihal link of the Kashmir Rail Project.
On the reports of threat to Amaranth yatra, Geelani said the government’s claim of threat to the yatra was a “political stunt aimed at maligning the freedom struggle of Kashmiris. He, however, reiterated his demand of reducing the duration of yatra and organising it on Gangotri pattern..
We are not against the yatra. In 2008, when the hindutva forces in Jammu blocked the Srinagar-Jammu highway and prevented even the baby milk to enter Kashmir, our people hosted the yatris with traditional fervour. But Government is now giving it a political and communal colour and projecting Kashmiris as anti-yatra in India and the world over, said Geelani.
The senior separatist leader said that the June 25 strike would also highlight the resentment of the Kashmiri people against narrowing down the political space of separatist leaders by the government.
The valley has virtually slipped into the army and police control and an unannounced martial law is enforced in the state. Ironically government is terming the enforced silence as peace in the state, said Geelani.
Be Part of Quality Journalism
Quality journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce and despite all the hardships we still do it. Our reporters and editors are working overtime in Kashmir and beyond to cover what you care about, break big stories, and expose injustices that can change lives. Today more people are reading Kashmir Observer than ever, but only a handful are paying while advertising revenues are falling fast.