Police Friday imposed restrictions on movement of people and detained dozens of pro-freedom leaders and activists to foil the march to South Kashmir town of Anantnag.
Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) leaders Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq were put under house arrest while JKLF chairman, Yasin Malik, is already lodged in Central jail Srinagar. The authorities had made additional deployment of forces to foil the march to the South Kashmir.
The force personnel in riot gear were seen outside the residence of Geelani at Hyderpora to prevent the march. Hurriyat (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar tried to defy house arrest at 12.30 pm and march towards Anantnag. He was detained and taken to Nigeen police station during the day, but was released in the evening.
Earlier before he was taken into custody, Mirwaiz told media persons that the government foiled their program by imposing curfew and snapping internet services in South Kashmir.
“Severe restrictions were imposed in several parts of Srinagar as well. I am under house arrest for the last nine days. Geelani Sahab is already under house arrest. The houses of other leaders have been raided and they have been arrested. J&K has become a police state. A mother of a toddler has been killed. This is the worst,” he said. He added that the government has failed to face the Hurriyat leadership politically and foiling the “proposed rally is a visible proof which exposes the fabric of their democracy.”
The JRL had called for a public rally at Lal Chowk in Anantnag to “demonstrate before the whole world what people of Kashmir stand for”. The separatist leadership earlier stated that it “is a litmus test for the claimants of democracy as this rally will highlight the miseries and hardships faced by the people of Kashmir at the hands of forces.”
In Anantnag situation remained largely peaceful as the authorities had imposed strict restrictions, mostly in the main town areas. Large posse of local police, CRPF and army guarded the vital points of the main town.
The police had laid out concertina wires at main entry points to the town on Thursday evening to thwart a separatist rally. Police and other government forces were seen manning sealed entry points at Khanabal, Bijbehara, Sarnal, Mattan, Janglat Mandi, Cheeni Chowk, Achabal Adda and other areas, while no vehicle was allowed to enter the district at Sangam, where authorities had erected barricades.
The authorities, however, allowed prayers in the main mosques of Jamiat e Ahlihadees Sher Bagh and Rahat Dedi Masjid in Lal Chowk barring Hanfia Jamia Masjid in Reshi Bazar Anantnag. Restriction were imposed in parts of Anantnag town for averting law and order problem.
As per reports mild clashes erupted between youth and government forces in Kadipora area of Old town Anantnag as people tried to defy restrictions placed by the authorities. After Friday prayers several youth pelted stones on the forces who responded by firing teargas shells triggering clashes.
In Dialgam area, locals said that, an army contingent passing through the area enforced a shutdown asking the people to remain confined to their homes.
The internet services were also barred in the entire South Kashmir region since Thursday evening while several Hurriyat leaders and activists were detained during night raids. Ummat e Islami chief, Mirwaiz South Kashmir, Qazi Yasir, was detained and continues to remain in police custody since Monday.
Hurriyat (M) leader and People’s Political Party (PPP) chairman, Er Hilal Ahmad War, along with scores of other pro-freedom leaders were detained after a police party from Nowgam police station intercepted them when they were marching towards Anantnag. Among others who accompanied Hilal War include Javaid Khan, Mohammad Shafi Dar, Arif Khan and Hafeez U Rehman.
Senior Hurriyat leaders Agha Syed Hassan Al-Moosvi Al-Safvi and Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai were also put under house arrest. The second and third rung leadership of Hurriyat including Ghulam Ahmed Gulzar, Muhammad Yousuf Naqash, Bilal Siddiqi, Zafar Akbar Butt, Mukhtar Ahmed Waza, Javaid Ahmed Mir, Molvi Bashir Irfani, Muhammad Yasin Attai, Shabbir Ahmed Dar, Muhammad Ashraf Laya, Umar Aadil Dar and Syed Imtiaz Haider were also placed under house arrest.
Activists of Geelani led Tehreek-e-Hurriyat took out a protest rally from Khanqah-e-Moula Srinagar and raised pro-freedom slogans.