What Next? (Hurriyat restricts shutdown to two days)

Farzana Mumtaz

Recently, the joint resistance leadership   issued a new protest calendar in which there would be full-day relaxation on five days.

Pertinently, Kashmir has seen almost continuous shutdowns since July 8, 2016, when Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan wani was killed in an encounter.  First four months of agitation had almost seen nonstop shutdowns, as about 100 civilians were killed and more than fourteen thousand injured and hundreds blinded by infamous pellet guns .

As a  matter of fact, the move to restrict shutdown to few days comes after much pressure was mounting since sometime on the Hurriyat to relax the existing calendar which had brought the usual chorus of  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.

 

On the otherhand, the online world is abuzz with debate on the relaxation in protest calendar  with some praising the move and some criticizing the same  .

 

Nasir Khuehami, a young journalist wrote – “#Hurriyat taken off 5 month long shutdown calendar, Now announced winter vacation For kashmiri protesters from tomorrow till July 8, 2017. #Happy#winter #vacation for all protesters and #Hurriyat leaders.”

The curiosity on ground zero is as to what could be the new options of resistance or protest in hand for pro freedom leadership with new year 2017 about to come . In wake of  mammoth economic losses due to months of unprecedented shutdown looks like Hartal calls might be limited as we move forward .

Importantly, many are seeing a radical shift in the protest calendar as a part of adopting to long term strategy and also recognizing the fatigue of people.

Bilal Bashir Bhat, a Journalist, while talking to News Kashmir stated -” The new protest strategy seems to be formulated after seeing the ground reality as shutdown was losing its impact and especially continuous shutdowns were proving excessive for masses. Looks like we will see a long term strategy from pro freedom leadership wherein the duration of shutdowns would be limited but calendars would be issued continuously and made  reflect the public mood .Also, the coming times would offer much curiously and surprise as to what will happen next. 2016 has been definitely a very tough and painful year for Kashmir.”

With reduction in protest calendar, onset of winters, new year about to come , memories of civilian killings the question as to “What Next “ remains in minds.

 

 

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