As many as 500 activists of different pro-India political parties, panchs and sarpanchs have publicly resigned from their political activities in south Kashmir during last one month.
South Kashmir witnessed severe protests, massive public rallies and road shows since July 9, a day after militant Commander Burhan Wani was killed in a joint operation by police and army in Kokernag area.
“Pro-freedom rallies and road shows are order of the day in south Kashmir from last one month,” a senior resident of Anantnag town told Rising Kashmir. He said such rallies take place mostly in rural areas as towns are sealed and are under strict curfew.
These rallies started ten days after the killing of Burhan and are called “Ittihad-i-Millat,” (The unity of community), conferences. Leaders of different religious sects and senior citizens address such conferences.
“The aim of our conferences and road shows is to keep youth peaceful and to avoid any fatal casualties,” a religious figure who addressed 15 such conferences told Rising Kashmir. He spoke on customary condition of anonymity.
Soon after Burhan was killed, many forces camps and police stations were attacked in south Kashmir by angry protesters. This, according to a religious scholar, motivated elders and religious heads of different sects to come forward and take the reins into their hands.
“Most of the protests were unorganised which led to confrontation at many places,” said an Imam of a mosque in Bijbehara tehsil, adding, “many elements had intruded and made protests anti-people.”
Sources said that more than 30 rallies and road shows have been organised in south Kashmir so far. Separatist leaders like Ghulam Nabi Sumji, Mir Hafizullah, Mohammad Yousuf Fallahi and Mohammad Yousuf Mir have also addressed such rallies.
“Organising protests was need of the hour and credit goes to religious scholars and Imams of south Kashmir,” Mir told Rising Kashmir over phone.
Sources said that pro-India activists of ruling PDP-BJP combine, NC and Congress, panchs and sarpanchs also come to attend these conferences and announce their resignations publicly.
“We welcome them and invite them to dice amid cheers from enthusiastic public,” said an Imam adding, “we do not pressurise anyone to resign but simply pass an appeal which is heard and reciprocated.”
Pertinently, pro-freedom leaders, Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik, spearheading the present uprising, have appealed all pro-India politicians particularly lawmakers to resign and join what they call people’s movement.
Sources said that resigning publicly during “Ittihad-i-Millat” conferences started after the NC leader of Anantnag, Iftikhar Misger, announced to quit mainstream politics in the middle of July.
The civilian death toll stands at 77 in the 44-day-long pro-freedom protests that began a day after the killing Burhan. Two policemen have also died.
Besides hundreds of people sustaining bullet and pellet injuries, nearly 800 people mostly youth, have been hit in eyes with pellets fired by police and paramilitary personnel. The state government Saturday told J&K High Court that majority of victims have “multiple structural damage” to their eyeballs.
Mobile internet services continued to remain suspended for the past 44 days now while private mobile phone services have intermittently been suspended during last six weeks.