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J&K violence: Separatist leader arrested

By Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar
June 04, 2009 00:45 IST
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Separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani was arrested on Wednesday afternoon from his Hyderpora residence by the Jammu and Kashmir police.

The arrest came minutes before Geelani was scheduled to address a press conference regarding the ongoing protests against the alleged rape and murder of two young women in south Kashmir Shopian town on Saturday last.

Prior to his arrest, Geelani, while talking to some journalists, called for an indefinite strike in the Valley and said the same would continue till 'the process of demilitarization begins on ground'.

Kashmir is observing a three day long strike on Geelani's call to protest against the Shopian incident.

Geelani, who heads the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, was arrested last year in the wake of the Amarnath land row agitation but released later.

Kashmir has been witnessing un-relenting protests since the last three days, prompting authorities to impose curfew-like restrictions in Srinagar and in the Shopian town. Srinagar witnessed protests at several places on Wednesday. The police had to use teargas and batons to disperse the protestors who kept regrouping.

In Shopian town, the police had to use teargas and baton charges to disperse unruly mobs who indulged in stone pelting during a visit to the town by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party President Mehbooba Mufti.

Mehbooba, who met the victims' family, had to be escorted out of the town along with other leaders of her party by the police.

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Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar