[Reader-list] Peace march in Kashmir attacked by stone pelters

Aalok Aima aalok.aima at yahoo.com
Mon Nov 8 15:05:53 IST 2010

how dare anyone, even symbolically, contemplate 'peace' in kashmir
"One of the protestors hoisted a white flag, symbolising peace, atop the Clock Tower, they said." ..................... "An agitated youth also removed the white flag and set it ablaze."
very very interesting, coming as it does after the posters questioning the 'strike-calendars' and articles in newspapers of kashmir doing the same
.............. aalok aima
Anti-Strike Activists Clash with Protesters in Srinagar
Srinagar | Nov 07, 2010 
Around 100 activists belonging to Jammu and Kashmir NGO Forum today staged a protest rally in Lal Chowk area of Srinagar against the continuous strikes called by separatist groups over the past few months, but their leader was attacked by some youths.

Nearly 25 vehicles carrying the protesters, who had come from various parts of the Valley, assembled at Tourist Reception Centre (TRC) ground here, official sources said.

Holding placards denouncing the frequent strikes, the car rally then proceeded towards the Clock Tower in Lal Chowk area, the sources said.

One of the protesters hoisted a white flag, symbolising peace, atop the Clock Tower, they said.

As the organiser of the rally Bashir Ahmad -- formerly associated with a national political party -- was talking to reporters, a group of youths beat him up and forced the anti-strike protesters to flee.

Ahmad was bleeding from the mouth before being rescued by police personnel providing security cover to the rally.

An agitated youth also removed the white flag and set it ablaze. Police detained the youth who brought down the flag while chasing away his other accomplices.

Several groups of people appeared from nearby Kokerbazar, Maisuma and Court road localities and raised slogans and started throwing stones at the police personnel.

Police burst teargas shells and used batons to bring the situation under control.

This is second protest against the strikes called by hardline Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani since the ongoing unrest began in the valley in June.

On September 1, a political activist organised a students' protest rally at Residence Road but had to beat a hasty retreat following opposition from some youths in the area.

Earlier in the day, hundreds of roadside vendors defied Geelani's call for a 'civil curfew' as they displayed their merchandise in the popular flea market in Srinagar.

Geelani had announced a three-day 'civil curfew' to be observed, beginning with arrival of US President Barack Obama to India yesterday, but the vendors decided to defy it.

"We have seen enough of strikes and curfews for the past four months and now we want to feed our families. We cannot go on forever like this," a vendor, who identified himself only as Khalid, told PTI.

The sentiments were echoed by many of Khalid's fellow traders at the Sunday market, but they did not speak on record for the fear of reprisal from separatist elements.

The defiance of the strike call by vendors comes a week after an unknown group, Jammu and Kashmir Ittehadi Islami, circulated posters in the city asking the Hurriyat Conference to review its strike calendar as it was only harming the economy of the Valley.

Kashmir Valley has been in the grip of protests, strikes and curfew since June when a 17-year-old boy was killed by a tear smoke shell allegedly fired by police at Rajouri Kadal area of the city.

The hardline Hurriyat Conference, meanwhile, termed the protest as a "drama enacted by the ruling National Conference to mislead the visiting US President Barack Obama about the situation in the Valley".

Acting general secretary of the amalgam Nissar Hussain Rather said, "Strikes and and protests are effective means to invite the attention of the world community towards Kashmir issue."


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