Separatist leaders under house arrest in Srinagar

By Sheikh Qayoom, IANS,

Srinagar : Senior separatist leaders were placed under house arrest Friday ahead of hardline Hurriyat chief Syed Ali Geelani’s call for protests against the custodial death of a youth in Jammu and Kashmir’s Sopore town, police said.

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While Geelani was placed under arrest inside his Hyderpora residence and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, who heads the moderate faction of the Hurriyat Conference, at his house in Nigeen here, Shabir Shah of the Democratic Freedom Party and Muhammad Nayeem Khan, chairman of the National Front, were also confined to their homes.

Geelani had called for protests after the Friday prayers.

“These steps have been taken to ensure that the separatists are prevented from creating a law and order situation here,” said a senior police official.

“It has been our experience that wherever Syed Ali Shah Geelani addressed people after the Friday prayers, there was violence. He cannot be allowed to hold peace at ransom,” the official added.

Zamin Rashid alias Anjum, 26, died in police custody in north Kashmir’s Sopore town on July 31.

The state government suspended a sub-inspector of police, and a head constable and a constable posted at the special operations group (SOG) camp in Sopore.

A deputy superintendent of police (Dy. SP) in charge of the camp has been removed from his place of posting and attached with the zonal police headquarters in Srinagar pending an investigation into Anjum’s death.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has also taken suo moto cognizance of the youth’s death and sought an explanation from the Jammu and Kashmir Police.