Joint Meeting Of Pro-freedom Leaders

18 November 2015
Kashmir Reader
MZ Zulfi

Srinagar: Despite being put under house arrest ahead of the first joint meeting of pro-freedom leaders to discuss 'alternative forms of protest' Chairman of the Hurriyat Conference (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and other top pro-freedom leaders addressed participants at the meeting on Wednesday. 'Mirwaiz and other top leaders took part in the joint meeting via telephone,' Hurriyat (M) spokesperson Shahid-ul-Islam told Kashmir Reader. 'The six-hour long meeting, presided over by Islamic Study Circle's Dr Yousuf-ul-Umar was held on Wednesday evening at Mirwaiz Manzil (in Rajouri Kadal),' a press release from the group said. During his telephonic address to the participants, the Mirwaiz, who had called the meeting, said: 'The aim of this initiative is to get suggestions from various sections of society on formulating a joint strategy and looking into alternative means of protest against increasing state aggression, the imposition of 'undeclared curfew', and detentions and house arrests of the resistance leadership.' 'A forum could be formed where these suggestions will be discussed by selected representatives and ideas and suggestions conveyed to the leadership, who will then deliberate and devise a strategy,' the statement quoted the Mirwaiz as saying. The meeting was attended by around 150 participants, including the members of the Bar Association, Jamiat Ahl e Hadees, Kashmir Economic Alliance, Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Association, Chamber of commerce, Kashmir Civil society and others, the Hurriyat press release said. 'In spite of crackdown, arrest and house arrests, meeting going on @Mirwaiz Manzil to devise common strategy against govt aggression *askHurriyat,' the Mirwaiz tweeted, during the meeting. On Tuesday, the Mirwaiz had called for a joint meeting of pro-freedom leaders, scholars, students, lawyers and journalists to discuss different forms of protest. He had also welcomed suggestions from people on the 'new strategy to counter the government's aggression on the resistance leadership and youths across Kashmir.' While thanking the participants for making it to the meeting despite the government's crackdown, he said, 'The objectives outlined for the initiative cannot be achieved in a single meeting but will take time and as such it is a process that has been set into motion.' 'This process has to be all-inclusive and anyone and everyone who can contribute to it, is most welcome,' he added. 'Organisations should plan objectives, compile suggestions and appoint a representative in the forum to form a strategy after discussing it with the leadership,' he added. The Mirwaiz also asked for suggestions the Kashmir diaspora. Resistance leaders under house arrest While Hurriyat (G) leader, Syed Ali Shah Geelani was already under house arrest, other pro-freedom leaders, including the Mirwaiz, on Tuesday night were also similarly detained ahead of the proposed first joint meeting of resistance leaders to discuss 'alternative forms of protest'. 'A heavy contingent of police arrived at the Nigeen residence of the Mirwaiz on Tuesday night and 'informed' him that he was being detained,' Hurriyat (M) spokesperson Shahid-ul-Islam told Kashmir Reader. Chairperson of the Dukhtaran-e-Millat, Asiya Andrabi, Jammu and Kashmir Muslim League's Feroz Ahmad Khan and Noor Muhammad Kalwal of the JKLF were also arrested on Tuesday night. However, the pro-freedom leaders continued with the plan and the meeting was held via tele-conferencing on Wednesday. While condemning the house arrests, participants at the meeting said it was amply clear that the government was hardening its policy of suppression of dissent. In such a serious situation, it was incumbent on 'all sections of society to find ways and means to resist oppression and take the freedom struggle formed,' the Hurriyat press release said.