Kashmir shut to remember Farooq, Lone
SRINAGAR: A one-day strike to mark the deaths of two influential Muslim separatist leaders closed down shops and businesses Wednesday in Indian Kashmir.
The strike was called by the Himalayan region’s main separatist alliance, the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, to remember Maulvi Mohammed Farooq and Abdul Gani Lone.
Farooq was murdered by unidentified gunmen at his residence in Srinagar on May 21, 1990. Lone was killed last year — also on May 21 — during a function to mark Farooqoq’s death at Srinagar’s martyrs graveyard. Witnesses said traffic was virtually normal, but the strike closed down shops, schools, banks and offices in Srinagar and other major towns in the state,. The strike was also to remember more than 50 Kashmiris who were killed when paramilitary forces opened fire at Farooq’s funeral procession two hours after his assassination.
Farooq was the chief cleric at Kashmir’s main mosque. Nearly 5,000 people, most of them supporters of Farooq’s separatist Awami Action Committee, took part as police and paramilitary stood guard around the cemetery.
Farooq and Hurriyat chief Abdul Gani Bhat addressed the gathering, urging India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir dispute in line with the people’s aspirations. “Unless and until India and Pakistan resolve Kashmir, the subcontinent will continue to bleed,” said Bhat.
The crowd chanted “we want freedom” and “God is Great” when Farooq addressed then, urging unity among separatists. —AFP