Govt imposes curbs to foil ‘UN Chalo’ Geelani, Mirwaiz, Shah under house arrest; Malik detained

Srinagar, Feb 10:
Authorities Friday imposed curfew-like restrictions in parts of Srinagar to foil “UN march” called by separatist leadership to submit a memorandum to UN observers for seeking world body’s help in return of mortal remains of Mohammad Afzal Guru and Mohammad Maqbool Bhat, who were hanged and buried in Delhi’s Tihar jail.
The authorities also disallowed Friday congregational prayers at historic Jamia Masjid in downtown Srinagar and placed all top separatist leaders including Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Shabir Shah under house arrest and detained JKLF chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik alongwith his supporters when they tried to take out a protest march.
The curfew-like restrictions were imposed in parts of Srinagar including Lal Chowk, Dalgate, Sonawar and downtown areas to prevent people from marching towards UN military observers’ group office at Sonawar.
The police and paramilitary personnel had placed barricades and concertina wires on the roads leading to UN observers’ office to prevent movement of people. They had also placed armoured vehicles to enforce restrictions.
The mobile bunkers and barricades were also placed at Ghanta Ghar, Lal Chowk and adjoining areas to prevent pedestrian as well as vehicular movement.
A police official said the restrictions were imposed to maintain law and order in view of the call for a march to Lal Chowk and UN office at Sonwar.
He said security personnel were deployed in strength in sensitive areas of the city and elsewhere in the Valley to thwart any protests.
The police and paramilitary personnel did not allow Friday prayers at historic Jamia Masjid.
The cops had sealed the entry gates of the Jamia Masjid and did not allow people to move towards Jamia Majid to offer Friday prayers.
“I tried to move towards Jamia Masjid in the afternoon to offer Friday prayers there. However, I was stopped by the cops. They told me to offer Friday prayers in a local mosque,” said Ghulam Mohammad of Nowhatta.
The Hurriyat (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani and senior Hurriyat (G) leader and Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) chairman Shabir Ahmad Shah, National Front chairman Nayeem Khan remained under house arrest.
The authorities today also placed Hurriyat (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq under house arrest at his Nageen residence to prevent him from marching to Lal Chowk and then from there to UN office.
“A huge contingent of police was deployed outside Mirwaiz’s residence this morning and the police officials informed him that he cannot move out as he has been placed under house arrest,” Hurriyat (M) spokesperson said.
Meanwhile, after the conclusion of Friday prayers, JKLF chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik along with his supporters attempted to march to UN office from Sarai Bala area of Lal Chowk.
He, however, was intercepted by policemen.
The cops detained Malik and some of his supporters. They were lodged in a local police station.
Later, police shifted Malik to Central Jail, Srinagar on remand till February 15.
The separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik had called for a march to UN office at Sonawar today to submit memorandum to UN observers and seek world body’s help in return of mortal remains of Mohammad Afzal Guru and Mohammad Maqbool Bhat, who were hanged and buried in Delhi’s Tihar jail.
Guru was hanged and buried in Tihar on February 9, 2013 and Bhat was hanged on February 11, 1984.
Meanwhile, clashes broke out between youth and cops at Soura chowk and Anchar areas after Friday prayers.
Chanting pro-freedom and anti-India slogans, the youth attempted to take out a protest march at both the places. However, they were intercepted by the police and CRPF men, who fired tear smoke shells and resorted to baton charge to disperse them.
The cops also fired PAVA shells to disperse the agitating youth, who pelted stones on them. The clashes continued for about an hour.
The clashes between youth and cops were also reported from Sopore town of North Kashmir’s Baramulla district.