Tuesday February 19, 2019
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Kashmir on fire: 7 big developments in the Masarat Alam case so far

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Amid the tense environment after the arrest of Kashmir separatist leader, Masarat Alam, the streets of valley witnessed pitched battles on Friday  when supporters of the Hurriyat Conference confronted the police. The clash led to about a dozen of people being injured and a death of a youth in Narbal.

It is notable that Masarat is accused of organising stone-throwing protests in Jammu and Kashmir in 2010, in which over 100 people were killed.

Let’s have a look at the seven bigger developments in the controversy so far:

  1. After the waving of Pakistan flags in a rally in the valley, a court in Budgam on Friday night ordered seven days police custody for Masarat Alam. His arrest fumed his supporters that led to turmoil in the valley.

  2. Just after the Friday prayers, protesters started to throw stones at the security forces. The clashes led Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq to appeal for peaceful protests.

  3. After the killing of a teenager in Tral, Umar denounced the government and commanded an inquiry.

  4. The confidant of Alam, Sayyed Ali Shah Geelani was also stopped from carrying out a march on Friday amidst the tense environment in Tral. The controversial rally carried out on Wednesday was said to be Geelani’s welcome party in the valley after his return from Delhi.

  5. While Alam was taken by police into custody, the hardliner said that,  “Arrest is nothing new for us… this is not happening for the first time. This detention will not deter us.”

  6. Masarat’s controversial remarks and pro-Pakistan slogans raised in the valley attracted great furor in the country, which forced the Home Minister,  Rajnath Singh, to demand from Sayeed strict actions against Masarat.

  7. This forced the Sayeed government to take strict stand against the entire event. On the issue of Pakistani flags hoisted in the rally, Jammu and Kashmir CM said, “Democracy is a battle of ideas, they are free to have their own way, speak their mind. But something which is not acceptable, is not, will not be tolerated.”

Next Story

Haitians On Protest Despite President’s Assurance

On the streets of Port-au-Prince, protesters are burning tires and building makeshift barricades, which are blocking many roads.

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A demonstrator kicks a tear gas canister during clashes with Haitian police in Port-au-Prince, Feb. 15, 2019, on the ninth day of protests against Haitian President Jovenel Moise. VOA

Hundreds of Haitians protested in the streets of the capital, Port- au-Prince, for the ninth consecutive day Friday, despite the president’s assurances that he understands their pain and is working toward a solution.

“We are asking the international community to help us get rid of [President] Jovenel [Moise] because Jovenel is working for them,” a protester told VOA Creole. “Fellow citizens, please if you see Jovenel on the street, handcuff him and throw him in jail,” the young man added.

FILE - President Jovenel Moise, then the Haitian presidential candidate of PHTK Political Party, speaks during an interview with AFP in Port-au-Prince, Sept. 6, 2016.
President Jovenel Moise, then the Haitian presidential candidate of PHTK Political Party, speaks during an interview with AFP in Port-au-Prince, Sept. 6, 2016. VOA

Moise broke his weeklong silence with a national address Thursday night, which was broadcast nationwide and on Facebook. He sought to calm and reassure a tense and angry nation.

“I hear you,” Moise said, acknowledging criticism about his government’s ineffectiveness and lack of transparency. “I will never betray you. You are the reason I ran for president. I’m working for you.”

He also reminded the country’s most underprivileged citizens that like them, he, too, came from humble beginnings.

Moise announced that he has taken a series of measures to make life better for Haitians and has asked Prime Minister Jean Henry Ceant, whom he described as an electoral rival, to communicate those measures and apply them immediately. He later tweeted that Ceant would announce the new economic measures Friday.

It is still unclear whether or when the prime minister will announce the measures, but in an interview with a local radio station Friday morning, Ceant said the president had pressured him to resign. Ceant said he refused.

A group of women and children walk to buy water in the neighborhood of Petion Ville, in the Haitian Capital Port-au-Prince, on Feb. 14, 2019.
A group of women and children walk to buy water in the neighborhood of Petion Ville, in the Haitian Capital Port-au-Prince, on Feb. 14, 2019. VOA

On the streets of Port-au-Prince, protesters are burning tires and building makeshift barricades, which are blocking many roads.

“We don’t need for the prime minister to resign,” a protester in his 20s told VOA Creole. “We need lower prices. This morning I went to buy a bag of rice — I’m a poor person — they were asking 350 dollars [Haitian Gourdes, the local currency, are equivalent to about U.S. $3.50]. So, president, I’m asking you to resign. You can go now.”

“Jovenel is adding fuel to the fire,” a protester in his 40s told VOA Creole. “It would have been better if he had never said anything.” The man decried the current living conditions where young people have died and residents are dealing with a water shortage.

“I’m out here [protesting] for the ninth time. I lost a lot of brothers and sisters during these protests,” another man said proudly. “The president humiliated [in his speech last night] by calling us drug dealers, while he sends kudos to the Americans. Mr. President, we are not drug dealers!”

The international community has acknowledged the people’s right to protest but deplored the violence and damage to property.

The U.S. Embassy issued a statement Friday reacting to the protests and the president’s speech.

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“The United States Government shares the desire of the Haitian people for a better future for Haiti,” it said. “We encourage all of Haiti’s lawfully elected representatives, and all Haitians who seek a peaceful political solution consistent with Haiti’s constitution to engage in an inclusive dialogue — without resorting to violent action.”

The statement also encouraged “sound economic policy measures” and “transparent resource management” as ways to improve living conditions. (VOA)