Women in Pak-occupied Jammu & Kashmir join People’s Rights Movement to protest against Paki atrocities

0
212
women protest in POJK
Women protesting In POJK (Photo: News Intervention)

The People’s Rights Movement in Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir (POJK) has entered its sixth month. On October 10, women protested in all the districts and tehsil headquarters of POJK, including small and large markets and villages. Thousands of women participated in these protests and expressed their full participation in the public rights movement.

The largest women’s protest rally was organized in Rawalkot, the main center of the movement. Apart from this, the capital Muzaffarabad, Kotli, Mirpur, Bagh, Neelam, Hajira, Khai Gula, Rera, Dhirkot, Dharbazar, Shaukatabad, Koian, Banjunsa Miralgula, Derek, Chahar and also in the capitals of Pakistan Islamabad and Karachi women of Jammu and Kashmir organized protest programs.

Children’s protest rallies were also held at different places on Tuesday, joint protest rallies of children and women were held in some cities. This is the first time in POJK that women have joined the streets in a public movement and thousands of protests have been held in all cities on a single day.

Six months of People’s Rights Movement

It should be noted that the ongoing public rights movement in Jammu and Kashmir started on May 9 with a sit-in at Rawalkot. This is the second phase of this movement. The first phase started last year. However, it was not possible to involve the masses in the first phase.

During the 5 months of May to October, protest sit-ins were held at dozens of places across POJK. Protests, shutter downs and chakka jaam (complete shutdown) strikes were held at various instances. The Awami Action Committees were formed at each locality, village, union council, tehsil and district level, and on September 16, the people involved in the movement in the entire POJK formed a Jammu-Kashmir Joint People’s Action Committee and elected a unified leadership.

Also, Kashmiris in the region are observing a boycott of electricity bills for more than two months. In the month of September, more than 78 per cent of the citizens in the entire POJK refused to submit their electricity bills and burnt these bills along with making their paper boats which were floated into rivers as a symbolic protest.

Next phase of People’s Rights Movement

In the next phase of the movement, student protests will be held on October 17. In this regard, the formation of student action committees has started. Protests and rallies will be held on October 28 after completing the boycott of electricity bills for the third consecutive month.

On the other hand, the government has also formed a negotiation committee after failing to break the movement through crackdown and violence. There is also a possibility of negotiations with the government in the coming days.

It should be remembered that this movement has three basic demands, with another 12 demands. These are collectively included in a charter of demands issued by Awami Action Committee (J&K Joint Public Action Committee) . The three main demands include uninterrupted supply of electricity at Mangla Dam production rates, subsidy on flour to be set at par with Gilgit-Baltistan and end of privileges of the ruling elite.

Notably, Mangla Dam produces huge amount of electricity which is transmitted to Pakistan and then sold back to POJK at hefty prices. On the issue of flour, the subsidy that they got was terminated by Pakistan which ended up in exerting extra financial burden on already deprived Kashmiris.

The third basic demand of ending privilege of ruling class stems from the resentment among Kashmiris that they are paying double-triple amount for their own resources and living I scarcity. On the contrary, ruling elites who are puppets of Pakistan are leading a luxurious life, based on the hard earned money of the Kashmiris.

Leave a Reply