Amid severe curbs in parts of Srinagar and Shopian town in south Kashmir, authorities Friday foiled Shopian march called by the separatists to protest against the civilian killings and express solidarity with the bereaved families.
Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was detained after he defied house arrest restrictions while JKLF chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik, who managed to reach Shopian, was arrested after addressing Friday congregation prayers at Jamia Masjid Shopian.
Large contingents of police and CRPF were deployed on main roads and major flashpoints in downtown Srinagar to maintain law and order and foil protests.
The tough restrictions were imposed in Rainawari, Nowhatta, MR Gunj, Safakadal, Khanyar, Maisuma and Kralkhud areas in Srinagar.
The normal life in downtown was badly hit due to restrictions.
The cops had also sealed all the roads leading to Jamia Masjid with concertina wires and barricades. The gates of Jamia were locked to prevent people from offering Friday prayers in the historic mosque.
The cops did not allow people to offer Friday prayers at the Jamia Masjid.
“I tried to move towards Jamia to offer Friday prayers. However, I was stopped by the cops. They told me to offer Friday prayers in a local mosque,” a resident of Nowhatta, Javed Ahmad, said.
Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, defied the house arrest restrictions and tried to march towards Shopian along with his supporters in the afternoon.
However, he was detained by police outside his residence and lodged in police station Nageen.
Before being detained, Mirwaiz told reporters that Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) had planned to stage a peaceful protest at Shopian today against civilian killings.
“How long should Kashmir people especially youth be made direct target by force personnel,” he questioned.
Mirwaiz said by placing curbs and detaining separatist leaders, the government was denying them to stage peaceful protests.
He lambasted India media for running “anti-Kashmir propaganda.” “Army killed innocent Kashmiri youth and when we raise questions, we are being labelled as so-called anti-nationals”.
Hurriyat (M) chairman said Kashmir movement can’t be suppressed by power, using brute force and military might.
“The Kashmir is a political issue and this issue can’t be resolved by holding elections, panchayats, schemes and by going to the legislative assembly,” he said and demanded arrest of army men involved in killing of civilians in Shopian.
Authorities also barred Hurriyat (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani from venturing out of his Hyderpora house to march towards Shopian.
He was not allowed to move outside as a heavy contingent of police and CRPF deployed outside his residence had sealed the road with concertina wires.
Talking to media, Geelani said Kashmiris would continue their struggle.
“The sacrifices of youth won’t go waste and nobody will be allowed to barter these sacrifices,” he said.
Praising people of Kashmir especially youth for following their programs, Geelani said, “Arrests, curfew and restrictions cannot weaken our freedom struggle.”
He lashed out at forces and the state administration for using excessive and unnecessary force against innocent civilians to foil their programmes.
“Our programs are always peaceful and disciplined but the police and forces deliberately create trouble and then blame people for it. Today we had decided to express our solidarity and sympathy with those slain in indiscriminate and unprovoked firing by trigger happy forces in Shopian,” he said.
JKLF chairman, Mohammad Yasin Malik, who had gone into hiding two days back, managed to reach Shopian where he addressed Fridaycongregational prayers in Jamia Masjid Shopian.
He was later detained by police after he tried to lead a protest march.
Other lower rung separatist leaders and activists were either detained or placed under house arrest by police.
On Wednesday Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik had called for Shopian Chalo to protest against civilian killings.
Pertinently, five civilians were killed in different incidents of forces firing in Shopian in last two weeks.
Meanwhile, a complete shutdown was observed in Pulwama district today against civilian killings in Shopian.
All shops and business establishments remained closed and public transport was off the roads.