AS Club Members ‘to Follow’ Protest Calendar  

Srinagar: With the situation declining to improve in the restive Valley for over a month, the “who’s who” of Kashmir, members of the Amar Singh Club here, much in line with the separatist calendar, have finally gone for “unilateral shutdown” of the iconic hangout co-owned by the government.

Sources said the executive body of the club at a recently held emergency meeting resolved to go for “immediate lockdown.” 

Sources said some ministers and senior bureaucrats were keen keep the club operational and even requested the members that let the activities go on. “But the government offer has no takers,” the members said.

“See basically we had not been coming here in defiance of the popular sentiment but would have brief get-togethers, mostly discussing situation in Kashmir… Coming here during hartals was not for any recreation but out of habit of having chitchat with the pals. But as this started sending a wrong signal in the social circles, we decided to go for closure of activities,” said a club member, asking not to be identified.

He dispelled the allegations that the club members were not discussing anything anti-government. “This could be true for some coterie but generality of us has free outlook of discussing anything be it against the government or whatever… All our life, we have called a spade a spade and we will continue to do so,” said a retired bureaucrat, known for his integrity.

Sources said some government functionaries had told that club members that there was no need to “join the hartal brigade led by the separatists” as the hangout operates from security zone and that authorities were willing to provide “all support to let the show be on.”   “But we decided to go with the popular sentiment,” said a veteran member of the club.

However it was reliable learnt that a group of club members resented to the “unilateral decision of some of the members of executive body of the club to call off the activities.” “As per the constitution of the club, the executive body of the club alone cannot decide to call off the activities. This is something challengeable,” said a club insider.

The club viz-a-viz its constitution came to fore during the then rule of Maharaja Hari Singh.

Though in 1990s the club was handed over to security forces for their accommodation, in 2004 it was the then Chief Minister, late Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, who got the club activities restored and subsequently the paramilitary was removed from there. 

Since then, the successive PDP regimes tried to keep the club-life on while facilities were being equally improved. The recent unrest, which erupted in the wake of killing of militant commander, Burhan Muzaffar Wani on July 8, and pushed Kashmir to “biggest every humanitarian crises”, however, finally paralyzed the club life.

For over a month, while the Valley continues to be under chronic siege, the pro-freedom leadership has been issuing protest calendar asking the people to adhere to the programs.

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