Rally shows solidarity with Kashmiris in held valley

30 June 2008
The Dawn

Muzaffarabad: Hundreds of people from different walks of life participated in a rally here on Monday to express solidarity with the Kashmiris putting up strong resistance to the Indian bids to transfer vast tracts of forests to a Hindu shrine trust in Occupied Kashmir. The rally, which was organised by Helping Organisation for Peoples’ Equality (Hope), a local NGO, began from the press club and ended at the UN military observers’ mission where a protest note was delivered. “Down with India”, “We want freedom”, “Indian government quit Kashmir,” the protesters, who included men and women, chanted vociferously as they paraded through the capital’s bustling thoroughfare. “We condemn the murderous attack on Yasin Malik and arrest of Hurriyat leaders,” read a big banner carried by the protesters on the occasion. “The United Nations should stop human rights violations in Occupied Kashmir at the hands of occupation forces,” read one of the several placards in the hands of protesters, who raised their hands aloft and made victory signs to express support for the struggling Kashmiris. “Today’s demonstration is the manifestation of the fact that the hearts of the Kashmiris divided between the two parts throb together. When one part is in pain the other cannot rest in ease,” said Hope chairperson Taqdees Gillani, as the rally proceeded towards the UN mission. Referring to the week-long protests on the other side of the Line of Control and ruthless torture on the participants of massive demonstrations, she said Indian authorities were mistaken if they thought that such ghastly acts could quell the quest of Kashmiris for freedom. She particularly condemned the torture on JKLF Chief Yasin Malik, whom her organisation had accorded a big reception in Muzaffarabad only two weeks ago. Earlier, Mr Malik also briefly spoke to the protesters from Srinagar and thanked them for expressing solidarity with their struggling brethren in the occupied territory. Organisers also made attempts to contact other pro-freedom leaders in Srinagar but did not succeed due to connectivity problems. The rally peacefully dispersed after the protest note was delivered to the UN observers. “The Kashmiris fully comprehend the conspiracies being webbed against them and condemn the expansionist designs of the Indian government,” the protest note said and called upon the World Body to “appoint a special repertoire to probe into the latest spate of atrocities on the Kashmiris.”