MUZAFFARABAD: Thousands of people rallied in Pakistan-administered Kashmir on Wednesday at the behest of a new movement campaigning for independence for the mountain region and condemning Indian “brutalities”.
It was the first rally organised by Tehreek-e-Azadi-e-Kashmir (TAK), which means movement for independence of Kashmir, and was attended by activists from groups including Hizb-ul-Mujahidin and Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD).
The new coalition has been organising two days of rallies in the part of Kashmir administered by Pakistan and plans to hold a rally in Pakistani capital Islamabad later Wednesday.
A crowd of around 2,500 people shouted “Al-Jihad”, “Allahu Akbar” (God is greater) and “We want Freedom” as they arrived in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-administered Kashmir on Wednesday, said an AFP reporter.
Indian-administered Kashmir has been hit by a surge in protests since June 11, when a 17-year old student was killed by a police teargas shell.
Since then Indian security forces have been accused of killing a total of 107 people, mostly teenagers and students.
“The ongoing freedom movement will transcend beyond the boundaries of Kashmir if the international community fails to take notice of Indian brutalities against this peaceful struggle,” JuD leader Abdur Rehman Makki said.
He criticised both Islamabad and New Delhi over stalled efforts to resolve the fate of Kashmir.
“There should be only one-point agenda of any talks between the two countries… The Kashmir issue.”
TAK spokesman Shafqat Hussain told AFP that the new movement wanted to provide a platform to all political and religious parties campaigning for freedom in Kashmir, but stressed it would remain an unarmed organisation.
JuD is blacklisted as a terror group by the United Nations and considered a front for the armed Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) group that Washington and New Delhi blamed for the 2008 attacks on Mumbai. – AFP