Mirwaiz calls for shutdown to protest Kashmir brutality

Published November 19, 2021
In this file photo, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq is pictured during an interview at his residence in Srinagar. — Reuters/File
In this file photo, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq is pictured during an interview at his residence in Srinagar. — Reuters/File

NEW DELHI: Kashmir’s Hurriyat Conference leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has called for a total shutdown in Kashmir Valley on Friday to protest police brutality with the families of slain civilians, killed by paramilitary forces in Srinagar’s Hyderpora district this week amid suspicious circumstances, a Hurriyat statement said on Thursday.

A separate demand was raised by the Farooq Abdullah-led Gupkar Alliance of political parties that have demanded a judicial probe into the incident. The demand came after Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Thursday ordered a magisterial inquiry into what the official narrative describes as an encounter in Hyderpora on Nov 15. Three families of the victims claimed that the three deceased out of the four killed during the operation were “civilians”.

Read: FO condemns extrajudicial killing of five Kashmiris

Alliance’s spokesperson Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami said the magisterial inquiry ordered into the “destructive incident” was unacceptable because the same was akin to being “judge, jury and executioner.”

The inquiry order came hours after the police removed the family members from a protest site in the city.

In a midnight action, the family members and protesters who had gathered at Srinagar’s Press Enclave on Wednesday to demand the bodies of their relatives were evicted and the sit-in was disallowed by the police. The family members were seen being dragged and bundled into a police vehicle during the police action that was carried out after snapping electricity in the area, The Hindu said.

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti said she was disallowed to come out of her residence to join the protest.

“Their narrative right from the start was based on lies to escape accountability. They don’t want to be held accountable for their actions and that’s why they are muzzling voices that speak up against such injustice and atrocities,” she said in a tweet.

Sharing a video of the police action at night, National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah said: “This is the ‘Naya Kashmir’ of 2021. This is how the J&K police fulfills the Prime Minister’s promise to remove ‘dil ki doori and Dilli se doori’. It’s outrageous that the J&K administration did not allow the families to conduct a peaceful sit-in.”

Mirwaiz was livid. “Infant daughter, distraught mother protesting in freezing weather not for punishment to the killers but begging for the bodies for a decent burial is agonising,” he said in a statement.

The manner in which the older brother of slain Altaf Bhat and other family members were being forcibly dragged and beaten up “is unbelievably inhuman”.

“To protest such inhumanity and in solidarity with the devastated families of the slain civilians and their demand that the dead bodies of their loved ones be returned to them for burial, people should observe a shutdown on Friday,” he stated.

Published in Dawn, November 19th, 2021

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