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Kashmir observes shutdown to remember slain leaders

Day also marks killing of scores of civilians in heart of Srinagar

Zahid Rafiq   | 21.05.2019
Kashmir observes shutdown to remember slain leaders

SRINAGAR

Muslim majority regions of Indian administered Jammu and Kashmir observed a shutdown to commemorate death anniversary of two prominent leaders -- Mirwaiz Moulvi Farooq, and Abdul Gani Lone. 

Kashmir’s Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), contesting for the right to self-determination, had called for the shutdown. The leadership had planned a march from Srinagar’s Jamia Masjid to martyr’s graveyard. But were disallowed by the Indian authorities who imposed curfew like restrictions in the old city.

Mirwaiz Moulvi Farooq, father of resistance leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was gunned down by unknown gunmen on May 21, 1990. The murder was followed by killing of 35 civilians, according to the State Human Rights Commission, as Indian paramilitary forces allegedly opened fire at mourners in Hawal area in Srinagar city.

But, unofficial figures are much higher.

Ironically, 12 years later in 2002 on the same date, prominent pro-freedom leader Abdul Gani Lone was killed by an unidentified gunman, when he was participating at the memorial service of Mirwaiz Farooq.

“Unfortunately even this year authorities disallowed people from visiting martyrs graveyard to pay tributes to martyred leaders,” said Mirwaiz Umar.

Shops and business establishments remained closed in Kashmir Valley while public traffic stayed off the roads.

Jammu and Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.

Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars -- in 1948, 1965 and 1971 -- two of them over Kashmir.

Also, in Siachen glacier in northern Kashmir, Indian and Pakistani troops have fought intermittently since 1984. A cease-fire came into effect in 2003.

Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.

According to several human rights organizations, thousands of people have reportedly been killed in the conflict in the region since 1989.

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