Indefinite curfew in Kashmir Valley; New Delhi: Territorial integrity is ‘non-negotiable’; United Jehad Council calls on militants to put on hold their activities
  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Email
  • Whatsapp
  • Linkedin
  • Print
  • An indefinite curfew was clamped in the entire Kashmir Valley on August 24 and several top separatist leaders - including Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mohammad Yasin Malik were put under house arrest in view of their proposed protest rally in Srinagar on August 251.

    The Union government on its part rejected calls for separation of Jammu and Kashmir and asserted that the country’s territorial integrity was non-negotiable. Union Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma on August 24 dismissed the claims of the Hurriyat Conference leaders that they were representatives of the people of J&K, noting that the separatists had never tested their popularity in elections. Mr. Sharma’s comment came in the wake of calls for secession made by separatist leaders as well as by individuals like Arundhati Roy2.

    Reports noted that the United Jehad Council (UJC), a 13-member amalgam of militant
    groups, called on the militants to suspend their activities in Kashmir in view of the ongoing ‘public movement’. Syed Salahuddin, chairman of the UJC, who is also the Supreme Commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen, urged the Hurriyat Conference to pass a ‘freedom resolution’ before the next public rally3.

    The Hurriyat-sponsored Coordination Committee earlier on August 18 submitted a memorandum to the UN office in Srinagar seeking its intervention in the resolution of the Kashmir issue. The memorandum urged the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to intervene to make India take effective measures towards giving the people of the state the right to self determination4.

    Former J&K Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah meanwhile on August 21 refuted the claims of the Union government and the Ministry of Defence on the ‘economic blockade’ of Kashmir. Abdullah charged that the blockade had forced the Kashmiris to march towards Muzaffarabad and added that if the Kashmir Valley was bordering China, “then they (Kashmiris) would have tried to proceed towards China for trade5."

    Ignoring India’s assertions that Pakistan should not interfere in its internal matters, the Pakistan Parliament on August 19 set up a panel to monitor human rights situation in J&K and mobilise world opinion in support of the ‘right of self-determination’ of Kashmiri people. Pakistan’s Law Minister Farooq Naek moved a motion for setting up a special panel on Kashmir comprising parliamentarians in the National Assembly, which was passed unanimously by the lower house. The committee would also monitor the performance of organisations working on the Kashmir issue and provide guidance whenever required6.

    In other developments, the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service, which was temporarily suspended on August 14 in the wake of violence over Amarnath land row, resumed on August 21 with 61 passengers leaving for Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK)7.