By Haroon Reshi
Srinagar: Even after the government claims about ‘normalcy’ being restored in the Valley in the wake of a schoolgirl’s alleged molestation incident and the subsequent killings of five civilians, including a woman, in Handwara and Kupwara, Kashmiri pro-freedom leaders are still under detention.
Most of the senior leaders are either under house arrest or lodged in police stations. “It is unfortunate that they kill our people and then they stop us from mourning the deaths and meeting the victim’s families. The government is trying to suppress the resistance movement by keeping us away from the masses.” Hurriyat (M) Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who is under house arrest at his Nigeen residence since protests started on April 12, told Kashmir Reader.
Police also arrested JKLF Chairman Yasin Malik along with half a dozen of his associates in the wake of the Handwara incident. All of them are lodged in Srinagar’s Kothi Bagh police station. “Even mobile phones have been snatched from Malik and other leaders in the police station,” a JKLF office bearer told Kashmir Reader.
Shabir Ahmad Shah is also lodged in a city police station. However, he has been under arrest for the past two months. “Shah sahib is not accessible because he is not allowed to have a phone in the police station,” one of his party workers, who receives calls on Shah’s phone, told Kashmir Reader.
National Front Chairman Nayeem Ahmad Khan, who also is under house arrest for the past one week, believes that the PDP-led coalition government is trying to ‘silence the voice of the resistance movement by continuously detaining the leaders’.
“You can see our detention in the light of the recent statement of senior BJP leader and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who openly said that the BJP entered into the coalition with PDP to fight separatists,” he said.
“By imposing restrictions on our moment the PDP is actually helping New Delhi to strengthen the occupation here. Everything here is done on directions from Delhi,” he added.
Khan also questioned PDP’s slogans used to allure voters during elections: “They used to say ‘Na bandook se na goli se, baat banegi boli se’ (Not guns and bullets but dialogue will resolve issues) and now when in power, they kill people to silence them.”
After the recent killings by government forces, a number of pro-freedom activists have also been arrested in different areas of the Valley. “Three dozen of our district level leaders and activists have been arrested following the incident in Handwara. While our leader Syed Ali Geelani has been kept under house arrest despite the fact that he is not able to move due to his illness,” Ayaz Akbar, spokesperson of Hurriyat (G) told Kashmir Reader.