Srinagar, Indian held Kashmir, 10 Safar 1438/10 November 2016 (MINA) – Kashmir’s pro-independence leadership have decided to extend a four-month strike against Indian rule after a lengthy meeting with civil society activists and businessmen on Tuesday.
“All the people in the meeting said that the leadership should continue the current struggle,” Yasin Malik, leader of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front said at the end of the meeting, Anadolu reported.
“This is a people’s movement and as long as people want to continue it, it will.”
The meeting was convened by Malik alongside Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the leaders of two factions of the pro-independence Hurriyat Conference and was attended by traders, teachers, transporters, government employees, religious and political leaders, lawyers and other civil society members.
The ongoing agitation against Indian rule is one of the longest runs for a protest shutdown in the disputed region, which has seen similar protests in the past.
According to sources in the police department, the Indian-backed government in the region allowed the meeting to take place with the hope that the meeting would result in the shutdown being ended.
At least 90 civilians have been killed and over 10,000 wounded, according to numbers by the region’s health department, during the crackdown in protests by Indian forces.
The current unrest began on July 8, when tens of thousands of people came out to mourn a 21-year-old Kashmiri militant commander Burhan Wani.
Since then, Kashmir has been shutdown in protest for 121 days and the Indian government has responded with strict curfews, restrictions on communication and the shutdown of some media outlets.
According to details from the police, over 7,000 civilians, including human rights activists, have been arrested for participating in the pro-independence demonstrations.
Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full.
The two countries have fought three wars – in 1948, 1965 and 1971 – since they were partitioned in 1947, two of which were fought over Kashmir.
Since 1989, Kashmiri resistance groups in IHK have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.
More than 70,000 people have reportedly been killed in the conflict so far, most of them by the Indian Armed forces. India maintains more than half a million troops in the disputed region. (T/R07/R01)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)