The unified Hurriyat conference has sent out a fresh calendar to the people of Kashmir, asking them to strike only on Fridays and Saturdays, meaning the Valley would witness five days of peace every week now, coming as a relief to the strife-torn region, which has been facing unrest since July.
The move comes after pressure was mounting on the Hurriyat to relax the existing calendar which had brought normal life to a grinding halt. "The leadership feels that a sustainable long-term strategy based on proactive initiatives, programmes and sustainable modes of protest is the way forward. We want maximum public participation and implementation, and minimum costs for the people," a statement issued by the joint Hurriyat leadership said.
In the statement, Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik said, "People's uprisings of the last six months have taken our freedom struggle forward, and have opened out the possibilities and the scope of our struggle. We have moved closer to our goal."
The new calendar was issued by the separatist leadership only called for two days of strikes, while giving people time to relax or to conduct their other businesses.
Citizens in the Valley have welcomed the move, saying the calendar should have been relaxed two months ago, to ease the economic blockade that rendered thousands of people jobless. The Valley has been simmering ever since the killing of Hizbul commander Burhan Wani on 8 July in an encounter. A sense of weariness has since crept in, as weeks have gone by without any let up in curfew or shutdown.
The Valley has been witnessing a complete shutdown since 9 July, one a day after security forces killed Burhan Wani, the local commander for south Kashmir, triggering clashes between security forces and protesters. Over 100 people have been killed and thousands have been injured in these clashes since.
Even Mehbooba Mufti, the chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, acknowledged that unwarranted force was used on protesters during the last five months. "During the past five months, excessive force was used and I don't deny that, but normalcy has started prevailing. I hope police will cooperate and change their behavior while dealing with people," Mufti had said, speaking at the passing-out parade of Jammu and Kashmir Police at Commando Training Centre in Lethpora in south Kashmir's Pulwama district.
Updated Date: Dec 14, 2016 22:35:00 IST