Rally of pro-independence activists stopped

Greater Kashmir

JKNAP and NSF were observing martyrdom of colleague killed in Indian firing in 1990

Muzaffarabad, Feb 13: Activists of the Jammu Kashmir National Awami Party and National Students Federation were allegedly prevented by the local administration, here on Wednesday, from holding a rally along the grave of their martyred colleague outside the civil secretariat.
 The pro-independence activists, many of whom were wearing red headbands, had reached at the grave of Liaquat Awan in shape of a procession, marching on foot all the way from the main old city to Chattar, housing civil secretariat and other official buildings.
 An activist of NSF, Awan, was wounded by Indian firing on Feb 11, 1990 on a large procession of his group during its attempt to trample the Line of Control in Chakothi sector. He succumbed to his wounds after two days and was buried in his native area in Chattar. Ever since, every year the NSF holds a public meeting to pay homage to him on his death anniversary.
 On Wednesday, as the pro-independence activists reached close to Awan’s grave, where the NSF workers had already placed chairs and displayed banners, the city administration refused to allow them to hold public meeting there, citing “security problems.”
 The situation became tense, but before the anger of emotionally charged activists could boil into a clash with the law enforcers, elders at the rally prevailed upon them and shifted the venue of their public meeting to an open space, nearby.
 “We exercised restraint because we did not want to provide any excuse to the administration to disturb our programme through baton charge or any other means,” Sajjad Jagwal, an NSF leader, told this correspondent on the occasion.
 Later, at the public meeting, almost all speakers vehemently condemned the administration for preventing them from holding their meeting at a place where it was being held for the past 18 years.
 While underlining the significance of independent Kashmir, the speakers also reiterated their resolve to work for reunification and complete independence of their motherland, vowing to thwart all conspiracies against the ‘national liberation movement’ of the Kashmiris.
 They also paid glowing tributes to Maqbool Bhat Shaheed and other martyrs, particularly former NSF chief Gul Nawaz Butt and Liaquat Awan, pledging to follow in their footsteps for the cause of Kashmiri nation.
 Many speakers also renewed a demand that “alien troops should quit the state of Jammu and Kashmir to pave way for emergence of the Himalayan region as a sovereign nation.”
 Prominent among those who spoke on the occasion were Shaukat Maqbool Butt, Zahoor Ahmed Butt, Sajjad Jagwal, Liaquat Hayat, Bashir Lone, Kamran Baig, Sardar Imtiaz, Mubarak Awan and Mahmood Baig.