Kashmir, 100 days of strike: Protests continue as life limps back on to the streets

In defense of the unending strike, separatist leaders claim that 'hartal’ is the only tool left to display their resistance to the government.

Written by Mir Ehsan | Updated: October 17, 2016 5:48 pm
kashmir, kashmir unrest, kashmir strike, kashmir curfew, kashmir violence, burhan wani killing, Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, india news, latest news Indian policemen patrol a deserted street after chasing away Kashmiri protesters during a protest in Srinagar (AP Photo)

As the Kashmir shutdown, which started with the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, has completed 100 days, separatists leaders under detention seem in no hurry to end the strike that is threatening to be the longest in the history of Kashmir.

In defense of the unending strike, separatist leaders claim that ‘hartal’ is the only tool left to display their resistance to the government. In the last 100 days, 92 civilians have been killed and more than 12,000 civilians across Kashmir have sustained bullet, pellet and tear smoke shell injuries, financial losses to the Kashmir economy have already crossed over Rs 10, 000 crore (according to Kashmir Economic Alliance) and closure of all the educational institutions has put the future of thousands of students in jeopardy.

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However, after three months of protests, curfew and restrictions, fatigue has started to set in and there has been a considerable increase in the movement of traffic on the roads of the Valley, especially in the city where roads had worn a deserted look.

There has been no civilian killing in any part of Kashmir in the past 10 days and curfew has been completely lifted. But crackdowns by the security forces continue as protests still taking place at many places albeit with less steam. Today, two Tata Sumo vehicles ferrying passengers from North Kashmir were set ablaze by miscreants at Parimpora — this is the third incident when private vehicles have been set on fire by unknown persons for defying the strike call of the separatist leadership.

There has also been a relaxation in the shutdowns in the evenings with separatist leaders relenting on the issue. Government and private offices that were closed for almost three months have started to function as normal and a majority of employees have returned to work. At many places, banks now function and in some parts of the city especially in civil-lines, many shopkeepers can be seen selling their merchandise. Street vendors are also back on the roads and the city’s Sunday market has reopened.

Senior separatist leader, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, has sought written suggestions from a cross section of society, including traders, transporters and intellectuals, about future course of action on the strike and other issues. It is not clear what has been suggested but recently many columnists in in vernacular dailies asked the separatist leadership to review the `hartal’ model.