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Separatist leaders under house arrest in Srinagar


Srinagar : Senior separatist leaders, including Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, were Tuesday placed under house arrest to prevent them from visiting the restive Kashmir town of Sopore, where a youth died in police custody last week.

While Geelani, who heads the hardline faction of the Hurriyat Conference, was under arrest in his upscale Hyderpora residence, moderate Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Farooq was confined to his Nigeen residence. Another senior separatist leader, Shabir Shah of the Democratic Freedom Party was also placed house arrest here.

No such restrictions have been placed on Mehbooba Mufti, president of the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP), officials said.

Mehbooba was restrained from visiting Sopore Monday. She wanted to visit the family of 26-year-old Nazim Rashid alias Anjum, who died in police custody during the intervening night of July 30 and 31.

Besides taking disciplinary action against a senior police officer and suspending three cops who were on duty when the youth’s death in police custody occurred, the state government has also ordered a magisterial probe into the incident.

Businesses, educational institutions, markets, banks and post offices continued to be closed in Sopore town for the second consecutive day Tuesday to protest the custodial death.

Traffic, however, plied in Sopore town after remaining suspended Monday. Life in other cities and towns of the valley was normal.