Is this to be seen as an Islamic agenda, as reports have made it out to be? Kashmir University vice-chancellor Prof Riyaz Punjabi has a different take:
"Teachers need to gear up to complete the syllabus so that all examinations are held on time. So there shall be no holidays in the varsity henceforth, including Sundays, gazetted holidays, summer and winter vacations. It was also decided that the varsity shall operate from 9.30 am to 6 pm with immediate effect."
This is in response to the strikes that are being called almost every other day. Nowhere does it state that the Sunday holiday is being substituted. However, newspapers have conjectured:
Central agencies feel that the change may lead to Sunday being replaced by Friday as the weekly holiday, as has been the norm in Islamic countries.
Besides the ‘feeling’ of central agencies, there is the technical aspect of managing major infrastructural changes. Incidentally, Pakistan, of who Geelani is considered a stooge, does not enforce a Friday holiday. Instead of seeing the role of the universities to make up for lost time, we have the media indulging in such idle thinking. Even if it is true, it won’t alter the face of insurgency movement. The separatists have often used the Friday namaaz as the best means to address the congregation on political affairs.
If, indeed, this move is being Islamised, then what about the call for Ramzan ceasefire by the establishment in the past where it was assumed that a month of non-firing will cool off the militants, although it was promoted on respect for religion grounds? Why was the government playing to the gallery?
This time round, Omar Abdullah’s political advisor, Davinder Singh Rana, is trying to show muscle:
"We have already instructed the police to enforce law and order besides making people feel free to spend their life as per their choice.”
Yes, long time no see. So, if some people want to make Thursday evenings their chill-out time during curfew, it is like okey-dokey and those who prefer Saturday night fever in the heat of firing then that’s their choice.
Clearly, democracy means choosing the right day to stay at home.