A ‘Free Kashmir’ placard was spotted at the protests in Mumbai in solidarity with the students of JNU after masked goons unleashed violence at the campus on Sunday. The presence of “Free Kashmir” poster at the protest led many to suspect that it is not merely a students’ protest against the JNU violence, but there were anti-national forces involved.
As it turns out, the DGISPR of Pakistan, Asif Ghafoor, cited a report about the placard to declare that it was the ‘beginning of the end’ for India. In his tweet, he also claimed that Kashmir is Pakistan.
— Asif Ghafoor (@peaceforchange) January 6, 2020
Despite the statement made by the Pakistani, the former nationalist party Shiv Sena did not find anything wrong with these protests and downplayed the whole incident. Shiv Sena’s firebrand Shayari expert Sanjay Raut has stated that he has come to know that the ‘free Kashmir’ posters did not mean actually ‘free Kashmir’ and they wanted only freedom from restrictions of internet services, mobile services and other issues. Maharashtra government’s new tourism and environment minister Aaditya Thackeray also dismissed the ‘Free Kashmir’ placard at the protests and said that we need to “look at the larger picture”.
The woman who demonstrated with the placard, identified as Mehak Mirza Prabhu, has now issued an apology over the matter. “The picture created by entire social media came as an absolute shock to me. Placard meant freedom to express themselves, freedom from the internet lockdown which many people have been voicing for. I was voicing my solidarity for basic constitutional right,” she said. She added, “If by being naive in understanding the impact it would have, and in the process create this stir. I apologise.”
Mehak is a ‘storyteller’ and reportedly often works in collaboration with Mohammad Muneer Nazir, head of Kashmiri band Alif.