In her first Kashmir debate, Shehla Rashid asks separatists to change their strategy


Srinagar, She has been hailed as a firebrand student activist espousing the cause of students and minorities in India. On Sunday, when she participated for the first time in a debate on Kashmir’s political and other burning issues in her home turf, she asked separatists to change their strategy of issuing calls for protests marches which, she said leads to “bloodshed”.
“A leader has a responsibility. You (separatists) issue calls for marches and then you don’t come on roads. People don’t listen to Omar Abdullah but (Syed Ali Shah) Geelani. People respond to these calls and at times get killed… Where is the roadmap (with separatist)?” said Shehla Rashid Shora, during a programme ‘Rubaru- the talk show’. It was organised by an NGO ‘Sunrise in Kashmir’.

Shora said when separatists issue “call for marches” they should have a roadmap to ensure there is “minimum bloodshed”.
The former vice-president of students union at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Shora, shot into prominence last year during massive anti-government protests in the varsity against government’s clampdown on students. She has made no secrets about joining politics. However, so far she has maintained silence on this. Speculations are rife that she would be joining one of the mainstream parties in Kashmir.
Continuing with her criticism of separatists, Shora said separatist cannot stay home when they issue a call for a march.
“If they know people will get killed, they should rethink,” said Shora, adding there was a need to question Hurriyat leadership to change the “course”.
Shora who has been critical of the BJP-led government at New Delhi, said the rightwing party has waged a war against Kashmir.
She said the “cycle of killings” was going on in Kashmir because the BJP want “something” at their hand to fight 2019 general elections.
“It can be war with Pakistan or that something can be war with Kashmir which is going on presently,” she said.
She questioned killing of militants who are not involved in any “heinous crime or encounters”.
“You will have to distinguish between them and the ones whom you kill in combat,” Shora said, emphasising upon the need for giving chance to youth to become the leaders of tomorrow.
People’s Democratic Party (PDP) youth president Waheed-ur-Rehman Parra talked about the Kashmir’s political problems and the need for its resolution. He said the solution to the problem doesn’t lie with the state government but India and Pakistan.
“The wheels are not moving…the keys lies with them,” said Parra.
Stating that there was alienation in Kashmir, Parra said: “We are in conflict with our own kids and brothers,” said Parra.
Describing Kashmir as a conflict zone, National Conference spokesperson JunaidAzimMattu said the political initiative has to come from India and Pakistan for its resolution. He said the successive eruptions of public anger need to be looked into. “The solution will come from constructive, honest and courageous politics in J&K and there has to be blend of initiatives from both New Delhi as well and the state,” Mattu said.
He, however, criticised separatists.
“Geelani fought five elections. Now he has become a holy cow. He can’t be,” Mattu said.