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JK: Police foil Hurriyat march, arrest three leaders

By Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar
July 13, 2009 13:56 IST
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Three Hurriyat Conference leaders were taken into custody, as police foiled the separatists plan to march in connection with Martyrs day on Monday.

Piercing tight security arrangements throughout the city to thwart the march, three moderate Hurriyat leaders, president of J&K Liberation Forum Javid Ahmad Mir, leader of Mirwaiz Umer Farooq-led Awami Action Committee, Shahidul Islam and leader of Shabir Shah-led Democratic Freedom Party, Waseem Lone were taken into custody by the police as soon as they appeared at Lal Chowk on Monday morning, official sources said.

Raising pro-freedom slogans, the trio appeared at the Chowk, the nerve centre of the city, around 11 am, but police pounced on them and lodged them in the nearby Kothibagh police station, the sources said.

Authorities imposed strict restrictions in the summer capital Srinagar and other towns in Jammu and Kashmir to thwart separatist's city-centre march in Srinagar on Monday, coinciding with the martyr's day.

Heavy deployment of police and paramilitary, the Central Reserve Police Force were moved into the old city and uptown areas to prevent the Lal Chowk march, called by Mirwaiz Moulvi Umar Farooq, chairman of the moderate All Parties Hurriyat Conference.

Road crossings were blocked by barricades and razor fitted wire coils to prevent the movement on roads.

Mirwaiz Umar had called on the people to gather at the martyr's graveyard in the old city on Monday morning and later march to the city centre Lal Chowk in the afternoon.

On this day in 1931, 22 persons were killed in the indiscriminate firing by Dogra soldiers in an uprising against the autocratic Maharajas rule in Kashmir.

The day is being observed to remember the martyrs of 1931.

The state chief minister, Omar Abdullah visited the graveyard along with his father and Union minister for renewable energy, Dr. Farooq Abdullah, to pay floral tributes at the graves of those killed in 1931.

The opposition Peoples Democratic Part PDP president, Mehbooba Mufti also visited the graveyard to offer tributes.

Mirwaiz Moulvi Umar Farooq continued to remain under house arrest at his Nageen residence.

In the old city Nowhatta locality, youths indulged in stone pelting at the deployed security forces who responded by firing teargas and baton charges.

Life in other towns was also adversely affected because of the restrictions and shutdown.

Speaking to PTI, chief spokesman of Hurriyat, Syed Saleem Geelani said, "We will not be cowed down by the restrictions. We will assemble at the martyr's graveyard at 11 am and later take out a peaceful march to Lal Chowk as per the already announced programme."

Chairman of Peoples Conference and senior executive member of Hurriyat Bilal Gani Lone was taken into custody at Handwara, 80 kilometres from Srinagar in Kupwara district, while president of Salvation Movement, Zaffar Akbar Bhat was detained at Lal Nagar on the outskirts of the city on Sunday.

Another prominent Hurriyat leader Ghulam Mohammad Hubbi was also placed under house arrest at his Chrar-e-Sharief residence in Budgam district of Central Kashmir.

Additional reportage: PTI

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Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar