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Candlelight vigil in Gujarat voices solidarity with Kashmiris, seeks normalcy in valley


AHMEDABAD: Seeking restoration of "normalcy" in Jammu and Kashmir and lifting of communications blockade from that state, activists, students, faculty members of IIM Ahmedabad and others took out a candlelight vigil here on Thursday.

As part of the vigil, which was aimed at expressing solidarity with the people of Jammu and Kashmir, around 150 people gathered outside the IIM Ahmedabad here holding lit candles as well as banners that read "Stand With Kashmir", "Let Kashmir Speak", "Peace in Kashmir", "Restore Communication" and "We Are With Kashmiris".

Professor Navdeep Mathur and Prof Chinmay Tumbe of the IIM Ahmedabad, veteran activist Prakash N Shah, senior high court lawyer K R Koshti, civil rights activists Shamshad Pathan, Dev Desai and Mujahid Nafees, were some of the prominent persons who took part in the candlelight vigil.

Students and faculty members from the IIMA, CEPT University, Ahmedabad University, Gujarat Vidyapith and National Institute of Design (NID) also took part in the event to express solidarity with the Kashmiris.

"People from different walks of life gathered here to express solidarity with the Kashmiri people and to raise voice against the snatching of their rights. Whatever happened there is not democracy," Prof Mathur said.

According to Prof Tumbe, some "undemocratic" measures were taken (by the government) in Kashmir.

"So we have gathered here to express our solidarity with them. Let there be peace and freedom of expression and speech in Kashmir. We want that the blockade must come to an end and democracy is restored in Kashmir," he said.

Prakash N Shah alleged that the Centre's measures in Jammu and Kashmir are "worse" than what was done by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi during the Emergency in the 1980s.

"Our message is that we want peace in Kashmir. Centre's measures in that state are worse than Emergency. Instead of taking the people of Kashmir into confidence, the government is suppressing their voices. I think the government needs to learn from the mistakes committed by Indira Gandhi," the veteran activist said.