Text by Sheikh Usman | Photographs by Syed Shahriyar
It was quiet and getting dark after a busy Sunday, in Lal Chowk, when students of various institutions assembled at historical Ghanta Ghar (Clock Tower) to protest Israel’s attack on Gaza in which several civilians have been killed so far. The protest sit-in called “Light a candle in solidarity with Gaza” was organized in the wake of current genocide in Gaza by Israeli forces.
Holding placards and banners students held a peaceful candle light vigil at a public park adjacent to the Clock Tower at around 6 pm. Apart from students a fair amount of local elders and children joined the vigilante braving the cold and drizzle. The protestors condemned the killing of people in Gaza. Accusing Arab countries of criminal silence protestors said that its time for them to help their Muslim brethren in Gaza rather than collaborating with Israel and its allies. They urged the Muslim countries across the globe to bring an end to this conflict. People also reiterated for the need to boycott Israeli products amid slogans in favor of Gaza and against Israel.
Accusing Israel of changing the demography of Palestine, a protestor Musadiq Noor, said: “Israelis were given land in Palestine on humanitarian grounds but they gradually colonized Palestine.” Lamenting ‘Operation Pillar of Defense’ he added, “In the garb of self defense they are killing innocent people. An 11month old child is not a terrorist, a pregnant women is not a terrorist. This barbaric act by Israel should come to an end. People are subjected to live on streets. Their homes are showered with rockets. This is not war, this is genocide.”
A Kashmiri student from Birmingham University, UK, Zubair Ahmed, while addressing the gathering said that the people, especially youth, of Valley are with the people of Gaza and Palestine. Denouncing the killings and rocket assault on Gaza he said, “It pains a lot to see people getting killed. We stand with them as we understand their pain. We need to boycott the Israeli products and remember Gaza in our prayers. That is least we can do.”
Accusing mainstream media of bias, another student said, “We request the media around the globe to show the real picture of what is happening rather than portraying Israel as saints and Palestine as terrorists. The fear with which the people are living in Gaza is immense and our hearts bleed for them. We share this moment of grief with them as fellow humans and Muslim brothers. It’s our duty to raise our voice for them. This is first humanitarian issue than a religion one, so people of all religion, caste and creed should join the protests.”
Organizers said that this is a non-political protest with no political affiliation and events like this will be held in Kashmir till the genocide of innocent Palestinians is not stopped. They also thanked people for showing up, being peaceful and appealed the students to make future programs successful. Concluding the protest, students prayed for the safety of Palestinians and their success against Israelis and dispersed peacefully.