Kashmir separatists detained to foil Friday rallies

Srinagar : Almost all top separatist leaders were taken into preventive custody or put under house arrest to prevent them from addressing Friday rallies in the Kashmir Valley, police said.

A senior police officer told IANS here that those targeted in the crackdown included Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, Muhammad Yasin Malik, Nayeem Ahmad Khan, Javaid Mir and Hilal War.

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Only Shabir Ahmad Shah managed to escape the police dragnet.

Officials the action followed the government’s determination to maintain law and order.

Hardline separatist leader Geelani was placed under house arrest at his uptown Hyderpora residence. He was to address a Friday congregation.

Geelani was also placed under house arrest on May 5 following a public address in south Kashmir’s Tral town where some youths displayed Pakistani flags.

Mirwaiz Farooq, chairman of the moderate Hurriyat group, was put under house arrest at his uptown Nigeen residence in Srinagar.

He was to address a congregation in Bijbehara town in south Kashmir. “Policemen reached his residence and told him about his house arrest,” a Mirwaiz-led Hurriyat spokesman said.

“(Chief Minister) Mufti Sayeed’s promise to provide space to pro-freedom leaders has proven to be a hoax,” he added.

Also detained were moderate conglomerate’s other leaders including Javaid Mir and Hilal War, who were taken into preventive custody near Pantha Chowk on Srinagar’s outskirts while going to Bijbehara town.

Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman Yasin Malik was detained near Parimpora in Srinagar while proceeding to north Kashmir’s Baramulla town.

Malik was going with relief trucks for fire victims in the town where 19 houses were gutted on Monday, a JKLF spokesman said.

Separatist leader Nayeem Ahmad Khan is also under house arrest. He was to address a rally at Safapora in north Kashmir.

However, senior separatist leader Shabir Ahmad Shah reached Shopian district to address a rally there. A police team reached his Srinagar residence to put him under house arrest but he had left for Shopian.