July 2016 News

Separatists Reject Govt. Stand, Extend Shutdown In Kashmir

18 July 2016
The Hindu
Peerzada Ashiq

Srinagar: Hinting at a prolonged agitation in curfew-bound Kashmir Valley, separatists Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik on Monday described the government's statement in Parliament as 'propaganda' and called a fresh three-day shutdown. In a joint statement, the Hurriyat factions and the JKLF said they 'reject and ridicule' the Centre's stand that the separatists were responsible for the present crisis. Several separatist leaders, speaking on condition of anonymity, said they expected Parliament to reach out to the [separatist] leadership and call for an institutional dialogue to end the political uncertainty in the State. After the two-day protest call given in Pakistan, the separatists have asked the people to observe the next two days as 'Black Days.' 'On July 21, a shutdown till 2 p.m. will be observed. Post-Friday prayers, peaceful protest will be held in all mosques,' reads the protest calendar, a repeat of the 2010 street agitation during which the separatists ran a parallel government for five months. 'Unfinished agenda' Calling Jammu and Kashmir an 'unfinished agenda of Partition,' National Conference leader Mustafa Kamaal said: 'The problem persists because of the dilly-dallying by India and the unilateral violations of the U.N. resolutions by Pakistan. India should honour the legal and constitutional framework set out by the Instrument of Accession.' He called for 'soft borders, hassle-free trade and travel between the two parts of Kashmir.' MLA Engineer Rashid is planning a peaceful sit-in in front of Parliament from July 21. 'The aim is to give a wake-up call to parliamentarians. Security forces have been given a free hand to kill Kashmiris by bullets and pellet guns. Ironically, the Congress is playing a dirtier role than the BJP,' he said. Two more persons, one of them a woman, died in South Kashmir's Qazigund area on Monday evening. PDP MLA injured Mohammad Khalil Bandh, Peoples Democratic Party MLA from Pulwama, was injured when his car overturned after hitting barricades put up by protesters on the Srinagar-Pulwama road. There were unconfirmed reports of stone-pelting when the accident took place at 1 a.m. He was admitted to the Army Hospital. Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti visited him at the hospital. All PDP MLAs and Ministers have been asked to visit their constituencies by Ms. Mufti. However, several legislators pointed to the 'dangerous situation on the ground as the people continue to attack the cavalcades of these leaders.' 'Anger is palpable,' a senior leader said. Petrol pumps and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) were running dry even as mounds of garbage began piling up with municipalities unable to clear trash. Sources said more than 70 per cent ATMs remained affected in the Valley. 'J&K Bank ATMs did face the wrath of protesters, particularly in south Kashmir. In curfew-bound areas such as Srinagar, it's difficult to load the machines with the security forces raising objections,' Sajjad Bazaz of the bank told The Hindu. 'However, in areas where there is a sense of ease in terms of security measures, the bank has made ATMs functional, including all hospitals,' Mr. Bazaz said. The bank has more than 800 ATMs in the Valley, with most left crippled due to the turmoil. 'Circulation of money is almost stagnant in the Valley for many days now, inflicting losses on both customers as well as the bank,' he said. Internet shutdown Snapping of Internet facility has affected not only Internet banking but the ATMs too. 'Around 60 ATMs running on the 3G Internet facility are non-functional now,' said Mr. Bazaz.

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