RNA – In an exclusive report for Rasa News Agency, Saif Ali Budgami, an activist in Indian-occupied Kashmir, described the events that took place in Kashmir on the occasion of International al-Quds Day.
Despite the lockdown caused by COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus), the people of Indian-occupied Kashmir joined the world and managed to mark International al-Quds Day via various ways, including on social media platforms, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, as well as via marches, sit-in protests and by waving flags. The hashtags that were used on social media included #FlyTheFlag #QudsDay2020 #FreePalestine and #DeleteIsrael. The regional and similarly occupied and oppressed lands such as Kashmir, Nigeria, Yemen, Bahrain, Afghanistan added other hashtags, including #FreeKashmir #FreeZakzaky #EndWarOnYemen.
International al-Quds Day is annually marked on the last Friday of Ramadhan and was initiated by Imam Ruhollah Khomeyni, the founder of Iran’s Islamic Revolution of Iran, in 1979 to express support for the Palestinians and oppose Zionism and Israel. It also exists in opposition to Jerusalem Day, which was established by Israel on May 12, 1968, and which the Knesset made a national holiday in 1998. Since its initiation, International al-Quds Day has received an overwhelming response throughout the world and is being celebrated with keen interest in every nook and corner of the world in opposition to the illegal occupation of Israel on Palestine, irrespective of religion.
“If someone came and took over your house, a hundred years later, it will still be your home to which you have a right. Palestine is home for the Palestinians,” Mohammad Abbas, a Kashmiri activist, wrote on his Twitter account in protest against the illegal occupation of Palestine on International al-Quds Day.
Although its symbolic name refers to the Palestinian city of al-Quds, which was the first qiblah (direction of prayer) for Muslims, it is dedicated to every oppressed person and occupied land in the world. In celebration of this occurrence, people in many places throughout Kashmir took banners of Palestine and marched on the roads or flew flags from their windows, verandahs and the rooftops of the houses. Some were witnessed chanting “Free Kashmir! Free Palestine! Netanyahu you will see, Palestine will be free! Donald Trump, you will see, Palestine will be free! Narendra Modi, you will see, Kashmir will be free!” in echoing and loud voices from the local hilltops. Some managed to carry out sit-in protests in compliance with proper social distancing guidelines in their respective areas to mark International al-Quds Day.
Image: A Kashmir child protests against the United States in Kashmir
A local citizen, Nazer Ahmad Mir of Magam, a town located in the district of Budgam in central Kashmir, managed to hold a sit-in protest in a local park. People of all ages, from small children to elders carried placards on which was written various anti-Israeli and pro-Palestinian slogans.
“We maintained rigorous social distancing due to the Coronavirus,” he added.
Mir emphasized, “We hold a huge protest each year, along the national highway that leads to Gulmarg, a world-renowned picnic spot in which thousands of people joined after Friday prayers. But this year, the lockdown didn’t allow us to do so. Therefore, people in various areas managed to protest separately in their respective localities in fear of the spread of the Coronavirus.”
Those who could not join in the protests in any manner managed to convey their messages through other means, such as via small podcasts and videos containing messages protesting the illegal occupation of Israel and Palestine.
“Due to the lockdown people could not come out and protest but I am glad to see how people have flooded their social media accounts with posts and pictures to let people know what al-Quds Day is truly about,” Aneesa Khan, a female journalist from Budgam, explained.
She had previously uploaded a video urging people to protest via their social media platforms more strongly than ever before.
The most unique and inspiring part of this year’s protest was that people placed pictures of the American President Donald Trump, and the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and flags of Israel and the United States on the roads then tread and stomped on them. Some small children in the town of Budgam were seen spitting and jumping on these pictures in an expression of their anger and dissent toward those tyrants.
Rasa News Agency