Srinagar, Sep 11, KONS: Tens of thousands of people marched to historic Lal Chowk on the call of Mirrwaiz Umer Farooq, Kashmir’s chief cleric, after offering Eid prayers at Eidgah grounds in the downtown Srinagar today.
Authorities had not imposed curfew anywhere in the Kashmir Valley following a reprieve in strike by pro-freedom Hurriyat Conference on account of Eid today. Even police and paramilitary forces were removed from the streets to avert a clash with the people.
Chanting slogans like "Go India Go Back" , "We Want Freedom" and Jis Kashmir Ko Khoon Say Seencha Woh Kashmir Hamar Hai (Kashmir which has been nurtured by our blood belongs to us) people in thousands marched on foot and on every mode of transport to Lal Chowk (Red Square) in the city centre soon after the prayers were over.
Earlier Mirwaiz made the surprise announcement of Lal Chowk march from the Eidgah pulpit to the thunderous applause from the assembled people.
Mirwaiz spoke to mammoth gathering before Namaz and reiterated his demand for right of self determination for the people of Kashmir. According to a conservative estimate nearly 2 lac people offered prayers at the Eidgah today.
Soon after the prayers were over at 11.15 a.m Mirwaiz led a huge procession that passed through Safakadal, Karanagar , Shaheedgunj, Budshah Chowk before culminating at Lal Chowk at around 1.30 p.m.
By the time Mirwaiz’s cavalcade reached Lal Chowk, the area was teeming with thousands of slogan shouting people.
Some enthusiastic youth climbed the Clock Tower, in the centre of the sprawling square, and unfurled JKLF and green Islamic flags with crowds cheering their ‘feat’.
Mirwaiz was joined by JKLF leader Yasin Malik at the Tower precincts where both leaders addressed the people.
Mirwaiz in his address said: “This is a historic moment as it was here at this place in 1947 that India’s first Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru pledged to give Kashmiris their right to decide their future”.
“Freedom is our birth right and the young generation of Kashmiris has decided they will attain it at all costs.”
“India will have to accept Kashmir as an international dispute in submission to the ground situation here and move quickly towards its resolution,” the Mirwaiz said.
“The demand for withdrawal of Indian forces, release of political prisoners and repeal of draconian laws should be immediately met to create an atmosphere conducive for meaningful talks for the resolution of the Kashmir dispute", Mirwaiz said.
Malik and other separatist leaders present including acting chairman of Hurriyat (G) Nissar Husain Rather and Maulana Shoukat Ahmad Shah of Jamiat-e-Ahli Hadees endorsed the Mirwaiz call.
After nearly an hour the crowds started dispersing peacefully. However when people were leaving the area smoke started billowing from the offices of Power Development Department (PDD) situated across the Budshah Bridge on Jehangir Crossing, nearly half a kilometer away from Lal Chowk .
Soon flames began leaping from the old two story building located on Jehangir Crossing and the fire quickly engulfed the adjacent building housing the offices of the Inspector General Of Police (Crime).
Some police and CRPF personnel fired in air to clear the way for fire tenders sparking panic in the area. However no one was injured in the police action. Police and CRPF immediately resurfaced in Lal Chowk and adjacent areas and created roadblocks.
However there was no resistance and people dispersed peacefully.
Earlier tension gripped Hazratbal after some persons torched police barracks and a police vehicle in the area prompting police to open fire.
However there was no casualty due to the police firing.
Pro-India politicians, including Chief Minister and leaders of the ruling party traditionally offer prayers at Hazratbal shrine, the management of which lies with the Waqf Board, a government endowment.
However sensing the anger among people neither Chief Minister nor any of the pro-India leaders turned up at Hazratbal today to offer prayers there. Instead the congregation here too was addressed by leaders of the Geelani led Hurriyat Conference.
Geelani himself was arrested by police two days earlier after he declared that he would offer prayers at Hazratbal this Eid.
Hardline leader was set free after Eid prayers were over this afternoon.
Protest demonstrations against Indian rule were also held across Kashmir after Eid prayers today.
Source: Kashmir Observer
Pictures: Greater Kashmir
OP: As a Kashmiri muslim I do feel that while it is important that we demonstrate a need for self-determination we also need to stop alienating the non-muslims of Kashmir and try to work towards an independant Kashmir that follows Kashmiriyat. If we could follow it once we can follow it again. (/idealism)
Airline staffer calls Kashmiri passenger a ‘terrorist’
Srinagar, Sept 10: A Kashmiri flyer has lodged a complaint with a private airline after a Delhi-based staffer of the company allegedly called him a “terrorist.”
Umar Hameed, a carpet dealer, has shot an e-mail to the airline’s customer centre, narrating how the airline manger at IGI Airport in New Delhi “misbehaved” with him and called him a “terrorist.”
The incident, which created a scene at the New Delhi’s IGI Airport on September 9, has forced the airline to apologize to Hameed.
“Vide my ticket PNR No-Q3IZDE, I was supposed to travel from New Delhi to Srinagar on September 9. My flight was scheduled to depart at 12.30 pm. The booking had been done on giibibo.com where all my details and email were registered. When I reached the airport 2-hours prior to departure, I was told that my flight stands cancelled since August 20. This came as a shock to me because I had not been intimated about it,” Umar, who works with Hanan’s Oriental Rugs, told Greater Kashmir.
“I took up the matter with the airliner staffer. She told me that that they didn’t have my mobile number and therefore couldn’t contact me. I showed her the message from airline on my mobile which read: welcome on board. This message is still in my inbox and was shot on August 27. So how was the flight cancelled on August 20?”
Umar said: “The staffer informed me that they were not having my e-mail address. I was surprised to hear this because the printout of the ticket carried my valid e-mail ID. I asked them to ensure my seat in the next day’s flight to Srinagar. But she refused to do so, citing full booking. When I told her that this is not done, she started misbehaving with me and went on to say that we Kashmiris are terrorists and keep fighting. I took strong exception to this and shouted at her. The scene was witnessed by hundreds of people at the IGI Airport.”
Umar has narrated the entire episode in his e-mail to customer relations. In response, an airline official has responded by apologizing to Ummar. “This has reference to your complaint regarding the rude behavior of the staffer. We will sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused to you. Please note that we have forwarded your feedback to the concerned department, so that the concerned staff should be briefed upon the same,” customer relation officer has written back.
Meanwhile, Ummar returned to Valley and has threatened to move court against the airline.
Source: Greater Kashmir