Pakistan flags, slogans stand out in recent  protests in Valley

Srinagar: Hurriyat's fresh calendar has laid accent on  celebrating Pakistan day and observing black day on August 15 in keeping with an old tradition. The calendar has also asked people to open their businesses from 6 pm to 6 am, a move that is welcome considering Valley has been completely shutdown for the past 36 days. 

The calendar has also called for referendum rallies and the other protest measures to press for the settlement  of Kashmir and force New Delhi to respond, something that the latter has refused to do or not done in ways that can lead, at least, to the resolution of the current crisis. 

At the all party meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi showed no sign that his government wants to depart even a little from his party's  ideological standing on Kashmir. Instead, Modi went a step ahead and publicly declared India's intention to interfere in Pakistani province of Baluchistan besides reiterating Indian claim over other part of disputed Kashmir. 

Meanwhile, the situation in Kashmir Valley is going from bad to worse by the day. Hurriyat's role is limited to issuing protest calendars. Government has refused to give them any political space.  Despite that,  Hurriyat has exhibited a substantial control on the situation on  ground, some attempts at the violation of its programmes, notwithstanding. Much of this new-found Hurriyat power is the result of the endorsement of the Hurriyat programmes by militant groups across the Line of Control.

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But this is also a fact that over the past month, the Azadi movement has gone through a subtle transformation on the ground. And it is apparent in the slogans being shouted and the flags being waved.There is now more of Pakistan Zindabad and more of Pakistan flags than we have heard or seen in a long time. This was not the case through the three successive summer unrests until 2010. Nor did we see the signs of it over the past five years. And even when the current cycle of protests  broke out following the killing of the popular militant commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani, the anger on the streets was against New Delhi and the people largely shouted Azadi slogans.

There is now more of Pakistan Zindabad and more of Pakistan flags than we have heard or seen in a long time. This was not the case through the three successive summer unrests until 2010. Nor did we see the signs of it over the past five years

But now the situation is entirely different. Pakistan flags are all over, creating a distinct impression that the people in Valley seek merger with the neighbouring  country,  something that is contradictory to what the intermittent opinion polls by some international agencies have found out, time and again.

So is the renewed public fascination with Pakistan deliberate, spontaneous or imposed. Nobody has a clue. 

Keen Kashmir observers say while there can be no issue with the deliberateness or spontaneity of this phenomenon, one can't but feel uneasy about the imposed nature of the development. 

"For it will be a crude interference with the indigenous nature of the Kashmir movement. It makes the ongoing protests in Kashmir an extension of the protests in Pakistan rather than vice versa and denies rather than win it supporters in the world, including in India

 

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