The authorities on Friday launched massive crackdown and arrested over a dozen separatist leaders while continuing to keep the Hurriyat leaders including Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai under house arrest. The Friday prayers were also disallowed at historic Jamia Masjid.
Among those who were arrested include ailing octogenarian Hurriyat (M) leader Ghulam Nabi Zaki who was arrested by a police party in wee hours from his residence in Khushal Mattoo, Sopore. The top Hurriyat leaders Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar continue to remain under house arrest while JKLF chief Yasin Malik was lodged at Srinagar Central Jail. Another senior Hurriyat leader and Chairman of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai continued to remain under house arrest at his Bagat residence since Sunday last.
Mirwaiz lashed out at state government for “caging” the Hurriyat leaders and barring people from offering mandatory Friday prayers at historic Jamia Masjid. “Once again curfew restrictions and arrests! people and leadership barred from offering Friday Prayers in mosques including #JamaMasjid Srinagar.81 year old and ailing AAC veteran Ghulam Mohd Zaki also not spared, arrested and jailed in a nocturnal raid at his house in Sopore!,”Mirwaiz tweeted.
The Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), headed by top separatist leaders Geelani, Mirwaiz and Yasin Malik, had called for peaceful protests after the Friday congregational prayers.
To thwart any possible protests, the Jamia Masjid was also locked barring people for offering mandatory Friday prayers at the historic mosque. Heavy deployment of troops was made around the mosque.
Talking to Rising Kashmir on phone, Mirwaiz decried the curbs and restrictions saying that the “largest democracy stands exposed before the whole world”.
He said that the government has again deprived people of their religious obligations. “Even the 81-year-old and ailing AAC veteran Ghulam Mohd Zaki has not been spared. He was arrested and jailed at his house in Sopore,” Mirwaiz said.
A family member of Zaki told Rising Kashmir that he is suffering from multiple ailments. “Despite our repeated pleas, police arrested him (Zaki),” he told Rising Kashmir.
The other pro-freedom leaders who were kept under house arrest include JKLF (H) chairman Javaid Ahmad Mir, J&K Salvation Movement chief Zafar Akbar Bhat, Tehreek-e-Hurriyat leader Mohammad Ashraf Laya.
Zafar Bhat said that they had supported the Kashmir Bandh call of traders but he was stopped from moving out of his residence.
Dozens of other Hurriyat leaders were lodged in different police stations. Hurriyat (M) executive member and chairman Peoples League, Mukhtar Ahmad Waza, was detained in Police Station Sadar in Anantnag. “I have been lodged in Police Station Sadar for the last seven days,” he told Rising Kashmir over phone.