Kashmir: Government succumbs to separatists' calendar

Srinagar (30 June 2017): Ahead of the death anniversary of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani on July 8, United Jihad Council (UJC), an amalgam of militant organizations based in the Pakistan-administered Kashmir, has issued a calendar of week-long protests to mark Wani’s first death anniversary. Even the authorities here have announced 10-day summer vacations in schools and colleges around this period. Wani, alongwith his two associates, was killed in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district on July 8 last year following which Kashmir witnessed more than a five-month-long protests in which at least 90 people were killed, thousands injured and many blinded and maimed.

The UJC chief Syed Salahuddin on June 26 announced a week-long protests calendar, from July 7 till July 13. “Hafta-e-Shuhada (martyrs’ week) would be observed on both sides of the Line of Control (LoC),” said UJC chief in a video message, adding that complete shutdown would be observed on July 8 to pay tribute to Wani for whom public gatherings will also be held, especially in Tral. The strike would also be held on July 13 to commemorate the martyrs of 1931. “Massive public rallies will be held in Muzaffarabad and Rawalakote on July 8 and 13 to pay homage to Wani and the 1931 martyrs.” He added “people will visit the families of martyrs on July 10 and 11 to express solidarity with them and help them financially.”

The state government on June 29 announced 10-day summer vacations for all educational institutions in the Valley from July 6 to 15. University of Kashmir too is expected to announce vacations from July 7 to 15.

The independent legislator from Langate in north Kashmir, Er. Sheikh Abdul Rasheed, said in a statement here on June 29 that since the UJC chief has announced a series of events and programmes to mark Wani’s first anniversary, the government finding itself short of options to deal with the issue has decided to close down the educational institutions in the name of summer vacations. He added that government’s decision to declare summer vacation is yet again an ample proof to conclude that militant leadership enjoys mass support at the ground level and that people follow their calls and calendars. He added that by succumbing to Salahuddin’s calendar programme, New Delhi’s propaganda campaign against him after he being declared a ‘terrorist’ has fallen flat.