SRINAGAR: The funeral (in absentia) of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) supremo Amanullah Khan was disallowed on Wednesday as the state government detained pro-freedom leaders and imposed restrictions in many parts of the city before it was scheduled to take place.
Khan, the 82-year-old leader died at a hospital in Rawalpindi after suffering from pneumonia. He was a staunch supporter of Independent Kashmir and led various agitations against India and Pakistan towards that goal. He is survived by a daughter, who is married to Sajad Gani Lone, a pro-freedom turned pro-Indian politician. Lone did not go to Pakistan but organised a funeral in absentia at his Srinagar residence.
The police on Wednesday morning detained JKLF Chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik at his home when he tried to move towards the venue, Lal Chowk. Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and other leaders were put under house arrest at their respective residences.
Police had blocked all entry and exit points leading to the city centre to prevent the funeral. Neighboring Maisuma, where Yasin Malik resides, was also placed under strict restrictions. The restrictions also badly disrupted routine traffic movement in the city at many places. Shops in Maisuma, Lal Chowk and Residency road remained closed.
JKLF had called for the funeral and factions of the Hurriyat led by Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq also were scheduled to participate.
Mirwaiz told Kashmir Reader that he was preparing to leave for Lal Chowk when police restricted him to his home. Hurriyat (G) spokesperson Ayaz Akbar said the same about Geelani and other leaders.
Superintendent of Police, East Srinagar, Sheikh Faesal told Kashmir Reader that the gathering had the “propensity to create a law and order situation” which was why they (JLKF) were not allowed to hold the event. “They could have held the funeral in the Maisuma area instead of Lal Chowk. But they wanted to hold it at Lal Chowk, and therefore we had to impose restrictions,” he said.
Asked why the event was barred if Indian law allows the freedom to gather at any place, Faesal said, “They (JKLF) don’t consider themselves to be a part of the existing system”.
Malik said that despite the curfew, restrictions and his arrest, JKLF leaders and other pro-freedom leaders led by JKLF vice chairman Advocate Bashir Ahmad Butt gathered at Basant Bagh and marched towards Lal Chowk.
Despite the police restrictions party activists led funeral in absentia at Trehgam, Kupwara Chowk, Hyhama, Bandipora, Hajin, Pulwama, Kulgam, Budgam, Islambad, Ganderbal, Srinagar, Baramullah and Sopore.
Meanwhile, thousands of people in Pakistan attended Khan’s funeral on Wednesday morning amid slogans in favor of the leader and the Kashmir cause. He will be buried today (Thursday) in his home town, Gilgit.’