I am not a stooge: Shehla Rashid

Srinagar

Student activist Shehla Rashid on Monday pitched for free movement of separatist leaders and insisted that everybody should be allowed to propagate their ideas freely.

KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

“The interactions and exchange of ideas lead to positivity. I do believe in freedom of expression and sincerely believe that everybody should be allowed to propagate his or her ideas freely,” Shehla said in response to a question related to the shrinking political space for separatist leaders.

She added: “I, in fact, support the student activism in Kashmir University. A students union should be allowed to operate at Kashmir University. Universities produce leaders and students should be allowed to function smoothly in Kashmir,” she said and appealed authorities to allow Student Union to function smoothly at Kashmir Varsity.

Shehla Rashid who is from Kashmir capital Srinagar said that it is unfortunate that some people label her as National Conference stooge and others as PDP stooge. “It is equally unfortunate that you have to identify and clear yourself whether you are related to mainstream camp or separatist camp when you talk about Kashmir. I have always raised and discussed Kashmir in big forums and debates,” she said.

Shehla who participated in a silent protest that was organized by International Forum for Justice Chairman Muhammad Ahsan Untoo to commemorate the first anniversary of human shield incident told CNS she can’t suggest anything to separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani. She said Geelani Sahb has a lot of experience but added that separatist leaders have to decide what they want to do. What is there strategy? I can’t come on a one fine day in Kashmir and start lecturing people. Yes, I want to ask questions to the government which has alienated people and are polarizing the society. In fact, rallies are being carried out in support of Asifa’s rapists and murder accused. PDP is talking about ‘healing touch’ while BJP is talking about ‘Sab ka Saath, Sab ka Vikas. These parties are doing nothing on the ground,” she said.

When asked whether she would like to play a role in Kashmir politics, she said that everybody should play a role. “It is not necessary to play a role as a politician but as a common citizen also we can play a role. The Kashmir politics is complex and that is why we are unable to intervene at any point in time. Still, if you want to intervene, you have either first to become part of mainstream camp or separatist camp,” she said.

Earlier in a statement, Kashmir University students union (KUSU) said that the recent event at an elite hotel in Srinagar seems that the ‘student activists’ are seeking a role within that collaborator political elite.

“In recent years, the war of the Indian state on the people of Jammu and Kashmir has especially targeted the youth component of our society,” KUSU said.

“Hundreds of our youngsters are killed, deliberately blinded, jailed, tortured, beaten and persecuted for their political beliefs and the desire for freedom, which is their birthright. At the same time, another aspect of this renewed war is political-psychological ‘narrative’ operations against the youth of Kashmir. This is not only undertaken directly by the government forces in Sadhbavana operations but by the collaborator regime at the state level and sometimes by groups and NGOs operating under the guise of ‘Indian civil society’ or ‘think-tanks’,” KUSU said.

“The recent event at an elite hotel in Srinagar, where a cross-section of collaborator class was speaking, as well as ‘student activists’ who seem to be seeking a role within that collaborator political elite, was a display of such ‘narrative’ operations against the youth of Kashmir,” KUSU said.

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