February 2017 News

Kashmir Shuts Against Death Penalty To Kulgam Youth

3 February 2017
Greater Kashmir
Abid Bashir

Srinagar: Amid complete shutdown across Kashmir, at least six people were injured in clashes that broke out in various parts of the Valley on Friday against the death penalty announced by a West Bengal court to a youth from South Kashmir. While the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik termed the verdict as 'murder of justice', the chief of Hurriyat Conference (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was barred to leave his residence to lead a proposed protest rally at Jamia Masjid against the death penalty. The Hurriyat Conference (G) leaders, on the other hand, also staged a protest against the death sentence and demanded its 'immediate rollback.' According to reports, as Mirwaiz tried to leave for Jamia Masjid this afternoon, he was placed under arrest at his Nigeen residence. Mirwaiz said he was supposed to lead a protest rally against the death penalty to Muzzafar Ahmed Rather of Jogipora, Kulgam, but wasn't allowed to move out of his residence. However, the Hurriyat (M) activists staged a demonstration after Friday prayers outside the Jamia Masjid in Nowhatta, terming the death penalty to Rather as 'sheer injustice.' Meanwhile, a complete shutdown was observed across Kashmir on the call of joint resistance leadership against the death penalty to the Kashmiri youth. Reports said that clashes erupted in Nowhatta area of old Srinagar soon after Friday congregational prayers ended at Jamia Masjid. Amid pro-freedom sloganeering, the protestors hit the streets with stones and bricks while forces retaliated by firing dozens of tear-gas shells. The protests intensified as youth hurled stones at police and paramilitary forces and in the ensuing clashes, six youth including a photojournalist of a wire service sustained injuries. Reports said some youth hurled a petrol bomb at the forces in which a CRPF man got injured. Clashes erupted between youth and CRPF at Green Colony near Grid Station at Elahi Bagh on Srinagar outskirts, they said. Locals alleged that forces broke windowpanes of many houses, provoking protests and clashes. Reports of protests and clashes also poured in from Sopore area of north Kashmir's Baramulla district. In Sopore town, amid complete shutdown, clashes between protesting youth and police took place soon after Friday prayers ended. According to reports, a group of youth from Jamia Masjid Sopore tried to march towards Main Chowk, but police deployed in the area prevented them, triggering clashes. Police lobbed scores of teargas shells to disperse the protesters. 'The clashes continued for several hours,' witnesses said. Reports of clashes between youth and police also came in from Palhallan area of Baramulla district. According to reports, a group of youth-soon after Friday prayers-tried to march towards Srinagar-Baramulla highway at Palhallan, but forces didn't allow them to proceed. The police action triggered clashes in the area which continued till evening, they said. Police lobbed scores of teargas shells and pushed the protesting youth to the interiors of the area where clashes continued for several hours. JKLF ACTIVISTS STAGE PROTEST: JKLF leaders, activists and people from various sections of the society held a peaceful sit-in at Madeena Chowk in Srinagar's Lal Chowk area. According to a Front spokesman, JKLF's zonal president Noor Muhammad Kalwal and leaders including Mir Siraj-ud-Din, Muhammad Yasin Butt, Sheikh Abdur Rashid, Mushtaq Ahmad Khan, Muhammad Sideeq Shah, Professor Javed and Mukhtar Ahmad Sofi gathered at Madeena Chowk and held the sit-in against the death sentence awarded to Muzafar Ahmad Rather of Kulgam. Holding placards and raising slogans, the participants sat on road for about an hour, the spokesman said. HURRIYAT (G) STAGES PROTEST: Reports said Hurriyat Conference (G) leader Peer Saifullah led a protest at Hyderpora against the death penalty to the South Kashmir youth. Addressing a gathering, he said there is 'no concrete evidence against the involvement of the youth and he is being framed.' He urged the international community to wake up and take a note of 'the verdicts aimed at demonizing Kashmiris.' MIRWAIZ AGHAST: Expressing solidarity with Muzaffar Rather, Mirwaiz said New Delhi is time and again 'punishing the people of J&K for their political views and aspirations.' 'Announcing death sentence to Rather on flimsy grounds of sedition when there is no substantial evidence against him is a mockery. Same was done in the cases of Muhammad Maqbool Bhat and Muhammad Afzal Guru in the name of 'satisfying the collective conscience of the nation',' he said. Mirwaiz said such verdicts are 'in line with the State's policy to eliminate Kashmiris and instill fear among them.' 'Each day this policy plays itself out in one way or the other-(like in) incidents such as in Samboora, Pampore, where forces fired indiscriminately resulting in five young boys getting bullets in their legs and thighs and are undergoing treatment at various hospitals,' he said. 'The situation in Kashmir is such that people are at the mercy of forces that represent the state authorities and have no accountability for their actions and people are not even safe within the four walls of their homes.' Mirwaiz said while this is the condition of people, 'dramas for the chair are enacted by pro-India politicians whose role has been reduced to 'agents of occupation', to consolidate and further the interests of their mentors.' Meanwhile, soon after the Friday prayers, a protest rally led by Imam-e-Hai Syed Ahmad Naqashbani, Sufi Mushtaq Ahmad, Jaffar Kashmiri was taken out in solidarity with Muzafar Ahmad Rather and against the Mirwaiz's house arrest. 'The rally was dispersed forcibly by using smoke shells and pepper gas in which some youth and two photojournalists were injured,' a spokesman of Hurriyat (M) said. 'MURDER OF JUSTICE': Chairman of JKLF Muhammad Yasin Malik termed the death penalty to South Kashmir youth as 'murder of justice.' 'In the past, similar verdicts were (announced) in the cases of Muhammad Maqbool Butt and Muhammad Afzal Guru. Kashmiris being a state-less oppressed people can only raise their voices against this kind of miscarriage of justice and will resist all efforts of oppressors and it is the duty of the international community and civil society to stop this state-sponsored bias against Kashmiris and save their lives from it,' Malik said in a statement. 'Now Kashmiris are again being targeted through this biased methodology and the government in J&K is hand-in-glove with New Delhi in perusing (sic) the policies of pushing Kashmiris to the wall.' He said the tall claims of India being a biggest democracy are getting exposed in Kashmir where all democratic norms are trampled and innocents targeted. The JKLF chief said the undemocratic means implemented in bid to 'force Kashmiris into submission' and the biased attitude in case of Kashmiris should serve as an eye-opener for the civilized people and nations of the world. 'The international community should fulfil its obligations to save innocent people from tyrants and oppressors,' he said. Meanwhile, chairman of International Forum for Justice Muhammad Ahsan Untoo said while the Amnesty International is pitching hard for banning capital punishments, Kashmiris are being awarded death penalties. 'I urge the international bodies to intervene and help stop innocent killings of Kashmiris,' Untoo said.