Hartal (pronounced [həɽt̪aːl]) is a term in many South Asian languages for strike action, first used during the Indian Independence Movement. It is mass protest often involving a total shutdown of workplaces, offices, shops, courts of law as a form of civil disobedience. In addition to being a general strike, it involves the voluntary closing of schools and places of business. It is a mode of appealing to the sympathies of a government to change an unpopular or unacceptable decision. A Hartal is often used for political reasons, for example by an opposition political party protesting against a government policy or action.
Over the past 27 years of violent conflict of Kashmir this word Hartal has echoed almost billions of times in the hearts and minds of Kashmir to register their protest and anger against killings , unaddressed political aspirations and atrocities with about two thousand strikes observed in past 25 years in Kashmir.
But since few time the Hartal as a strategy employed by profreedom polity is failing to garner impressive response. The representatives of Hurriyat Conference, an amalgam of different separatist parties in Kashmir recently decided to brainstorm at Mirwaiz Manzil in Srinagar last week to think of “alternate means” of protest. Feedback from online platforms like twitter is being asked from youth to suggest alternative to hartals.
Will the anniversary hartals and failed chalos lead us to freedom?” a student asked Mirwaiz, the head priest of Kashmir who leads Friday congregational prayers at the historic Jamia Masjid in Srinagar, to which he replied, “At times, hartal becomes the only option, but I agree we have to look for alternative means of protest.”
People have been asking and questioning both on ground and online media to profreedom leaders to find an alternative to these strikes .Will the alternative come remains to be seen.