Tricolour at 8 am, rebel flags at 4 pm Avijit Ghosh|

16 08 2008


Courtesy: Times of India Epaper

Avijit Ghosh|TNN


Srinagar: At exactly 8am, CRPF hoisted the Indian tricolour at Lal Chowk in the heart of Srinagar on Independence Day. At 3.45pm, Lal Chowk wore a totally different look. Hundreds of slogan-shouting protesters swarmed the area and at 4pm planted the flags of Jamaat-e-Islami (which looks like the Pakistani flag) and the terrorist outfit, Hizb-ul Mujahideen, on top of the same tower where the Indian flag had been hoisted.

If one were to go by the symbolism of the spectacle at Lal Chowk, the Valley’s a l i e n at i o n from the Indian Union seemed complete. One of the slogans of the protesters drove the m e s s a g e home— “Jiyo, jiyo Pakistan, hum hain Pakistani.” Other slogans included “Islam Zindabad,” “Lad ke lenge azadi” and “Allah-u-Akbar.”

The crowds had a free hand through much of Friday. They were aggressive in their gestures, but did not resort to violence. Driving around the city, it was obvious that CRPF’s presence was vastly reduced, especially in old Srinagar area. Police too remained mere onlookers as the protesters kept jumping and screaming slogans at Lal Chowk for at least 20 minutes.
In the evening, there was news of police firing in the Habba Kadal area in which more than 20 protesters were injured. Between 8pm and 9pm, the city observed a blackout— rather was forced to do so as activists went around enforcing it at buildings where lights were switched on. What happened to the Indian national flag at Lal Chowk? Prabhakar Tripathi, the CRPF PRO, said the national flag was
taken off around 10.00am to protect it from rain. Apart from Lal Chowk, the national flag was also hoisted by governor N N Vohra at Bakshi Stadium.

In the afternoon after the namaz, the demonstrators spilled out into the streets from nooks and crannies of Srinagar. Many protesters carried black flags; a few wore black armbands. A majority of them were young—in the 15-30 age group. Women and children too marched in the procession raising slogans for “azadi’’.

Around 1pm in the Safa Kadal area, loudspeakers blared out from mosques, “humko chahiye azadi’’. A procession on M a u l a n a Azad Road a ro u n d 3.30pm had at least 5,000 p e o p l e. A ro u n d 2.45pm, before the namaz at Jamia Masjid in old S r i n a g a r town was over, a bunch of 15 women in burqas burned the tricolour.

T he women shouted: “Bharat teri maut aye, Millat aayee, Millat aayee.’’ When asked, one of them identified herself as a member of Dukhtaran-e-Millat, a pro-separatist women’s organization. Their action spurred the young. They danced shoulder to shoulder. And they shouted pro-Pakistan slogans at the top of their voices.

In his speech at the mosque, APHC chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq said the protests would continue till Monday. Which means shops will continue to remain closed. On Saturday, there is a ceremony called Rasm-e-Chahram (fourth day of mourning) at Pampore, about 15km from Srinagar, for Hurriyat leader Sheikh Abdul Aziz, who was killed in police firing. People from different parts of the state are expected to reach there, making it another massive gathering.

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Sri Sri calls for peace

13 08 2008

Monday, August 4, 2008 New Delhi

Expressing deep concern over the continuing violence on the Amarnath land issue in Jammu and Kashmir, renowned spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on Monday appealed for peace in the state and urged people to exercise restraint.

Asking people not commit “blunder” by continuing with violent protests, the spiritual guru said, “the (state) government has committed a big mistake by first transferring the land to Amarnath Shrine Board and revoking the same later in face of protests.”

“Though people have the freedom to express their opinion and frustration, however violence is no solution,” Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the exponent of Art of Living, said in a release.

He appealed to people to adopt non-violent ways of protest and maintain communal harmony.

In his bid to find an effective solution to the imbroglio, the release said, he has been in constant touch with leaders of different groups. He also had a telephonic conversation with Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra and hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani in this regard.

Source : New Delhi (PTI)

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Source: Various

Jammu (J&K): Renowned spiritual leader and founder of the Art of Living Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on 12th August held wide ranging discussions in Jammu with different sections of people from Jammu and Kashmir to resolve the Amarnath Shrine imbroglio.

Sri Sri arrived from Germany in the wee hours and met with the representatives of the 32 organisations that make up the Amarnath Yatra Sangharsh Samiti (AYSS), says a statement from Art of Living Bureau of Communication of The Art of Living International Centre (Bangalore).

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar discussing ways to resolve the Amarnath imbroglio with Muslim leaders in Jammu on Tuesday

He also met with the members of the Muslim Front Jammu, Bar Association, Sadhu Samaj, university professors and doctors. He gave a patient hearing to everyone and appealed for communal harmony and peace in the region. He assured them that justice would be done to them and asked them to be patient.

Advising against taking law into one’s own hands, Sri Sri said, “Dialogue is the only way to resolve the present crisis.” He added that in his interactions with the leaders in J&K, they have expressed that they also want a peaceful settlement of the issue.

“Jammu and Kashmir are like two eyes. If one is hurt, the other will also bleed,” he said. He termed the recent happening in J&K as most unfortunate. “The deep wounds and scars need to be healed fast,” he said. He asked the Centre to act fast and resolve the issue. Calling upon the administration to be impartial and give a human and healing touch, Sri Sri urged everyone not to harm women and children.

He underlined the need for the majority community to take responsibility of protecting the minority community. “Wherever Hindus are in majority, they need to protect the Muslims and vice versa,” he said.

Spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravishankar on wednesday said the civil society in Jammu and Kashmir should come forward for amicable resolution of the Amarnath land transfer issue.

“The civil society should come forward for resolution of the issue so that peace is restored in Jammu and Kashmir,” he told reporters after a meeting with hardline Hurriyat Conference chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani at his Hyderpora residence here.

He said efforts should be made to prevent the issue from being communalised and justice should be done to all.

Ravishankar is expected to meet chairman of moderate faction of Hurriyat Conference Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Governor N N Vohra later today.

During the 15-minute meeting, Geelani said Muslims of Kashmir have never been against the Amarnath yatra and have been actively facilitating the annual Hindu pilgrimage for more than 125 years.