Sheikh Abdul Aziz
Sheikh Abdul Aziz (1952 – August 11, 2008) was chairman of the Jammu Kashmir Peoples League and a prominent member of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, an alliance of Kashmiri pro-freedom groups at the forefront of the political struggle against Indian rule in Indian Administered Kashmir. He was a strong advocate of the right to self-determination of Kashmiri people and believed that an independent plebiscite under UN supervision could bring long lasting peace in South-Asia.
Aziz was allegedly killed by Indian Paramilitary Forces on August 11, 2008 while leading a peaceful public demonstration against the ‘economic blockade’ of the Kashmir Valley predominantly having Muslim population being enforced by native Indian Hindu hardliner groups allegedly with the tacit support of the Indian government.
Aziz was a former militant commander turned pro-freedom politician. He had been jailed on several occasions for demanding accession of Kashmir with Pakistan. He is the third prominent pro-freedom leader to have been killed after the eruption in 1989 of armed struggle against Indian rule in Indian Administered Kashmir
With his death, Aziz emerged as new ‘martyr’ of Kashmiri Right to Self-Determination in league with Maqbool Bhat and caused a serious blow to the Kashmir conflict, further narrowing down chances of any rapprochement between the Kashmiri nation and the increasingly militant Indian state.
Abdul Aziz was born in 1952 in Namblabal, district Pampore close to the capital city Srinagar. He was of Arab ancestry whose ancestors had migrated from outside to Kashmir. He received basic education from Government School Pampore and then passed Matriculation from Government High School Pampore. Soon after passing his Matriculation examination, Aziz joined the agriculture business of his father Sheikh Abdul Salam, including growing high yield saffron, for which his hometown is famous throughout the Kashmir valley.[unreliable source?]
On 11 August 2008 the “Muzaffarabad chalo” call was given by the Hurriyat Conference and some other organisations against the 'economical blockade' of Kashmir valley by Indian Hindu fundamentalists. Processions were taken out from various areas across the valley. Aziz and Shabbir Shah were leading the march from Sopore towards the de facto border with Pakistan, when their rally was stopped by a force of police and army at Chala, 25 km away from the border town of Uri, to disperse the march. Aziz along with many others were injured. All the critically injured were taken to Srinagar's SMHS hospital, where Aziz died. He was buried in Marty's Graveyard in Eidgah, Srinagar on 12 August 2008.
References and notes
- "Kashmiri separatist leader killed". Al-Jazeera. 12 August 2008. Retrieved 11 August 2009.
- "Last words of Saheed-e-Azeemat Sheikh Abdul Aziz". kashmirwatch.com. 13 August 2008. Retrieved 11 August 2009.
- Murtaza, Shibli (11 August 2008). "Obituary: Sheikh Abdul Aziz (1952-2008)". kashmiraffairs.org. Retrieved 11 August 2009.
- Shah, Waseem (10 Aug 2009). "Sheikh Aziz: Man with a mission". [kashmirwatch.org]. Retrieved 11 August 2009.
- Ehsan Fazili (August 11, 2008). "‘Muzaffarabad chalo’ march fizzles out". Tribune News Service. Retrieved 12 August 2008.
- Jawed Naqvi (August 12, 2008). "Troops open fire as 250,000 ‘march to Muzaffarabad’: APHC leader Sheikh Aziz killed". Dawn News. Retrieved 2012-07-25.
- Kashmir Watch - In-depth Coverage on Kashmir Conflict
- Kashmiri - Canadian Council
- Kashmir Centre.EU
- Kashmir Affairs