The pro-Pakistan face of the Kashmiri separatists came to the fore again on Sunday when they called for “complete shutdown” in Kashmir on the Indian Independence Day on August 15, and extended “heartiest felicitations” to Pakistan on their Independence Day that is observed on August 14.

The separatist leaders, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik, in a virtual diktat asked the students and teachers to “boycott” the Independence Day celebrations in schools.

In a statement, the separatists warned the Jammu and Kashmir government against forcing teachers, students and their parents to participate in these functions. They asked the parents to stop their children from participating in the Independence Day functions.

The separatists also paid tributes to the three terrorists who were killed on Sunday in an encounter with security forces in Shopian.

They claimed that Kashmir is an “internationally acknowledged dispute” and Delhi can neither succeed in changing the status and nature of this state. They said that any tinkering or fiddling with the Article 35A will not be tolerated.

Geelani in a separate statement said, “Strong and stable Pakistan is very important for the resolution of Kashmir issue”. “We in particular felicitate Pakistan Army that has the responsibility of protecting and safeguarding the geographical borders of Pakistan and its ideological borders as well,” Geelani added.