Protest march held in his hometown Trehgam; Malik says Bhat practiced what he preached
Srinagar: A complete shutdown was observed across Kashmir on the 33rd death anniversary of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front founder Mohammad Maqbool Bhat, who was hanged and secretly buried in Tihar Jail on February 11, 1984.
All shops and business centres including tuition centres, petrol pumps, government and private offices across Kashmir remained closed while public transport was off the roads on the call of the Joint Resistance Leadership comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Yasin Malik and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.
Curfew-like restrictions were witnessed in parts of Srinagar and several areas of North Kashmir as tens of hundreds of police and paramilitary forces blocked the roads with concertina wires.
Heavy security deployment was made in district headquarters and towns to prevent protests called by the pro-freedom leaders on the death anniversary of Bhat
In a statement, jailed JKLF chief Yasin Malik Srinagar paid tributes to Bhat, calling him an “inspiration for all the oppressed of the world.”
Terming Bhat as a symbol of resistance, resilience and sacrifices, Malik said that he was an “ideologue who not only offered an idea but also showed the practical way to implement that idea.”
The statement also read that Maqbool Bhat was remembered across the world as Maqbool Day was observed across the world by Kashmiris living outside Kashmir.
A protest program was held at Bhat’s hometown Trehgam, where many pro-freedom leaders participated. Scores of people marched in the town, shouting pro-freedom and anti-India slogans. They pledged to continue the freedom struggle and demanded India to return the mortal remains of their “hero”.
Pro-freedom leader Shabir Ahmad Shah, who has been imprisoned in his house, addressed people at Trehgam on phone and thanked the people for observing a complete shutdown, while reiterating the resolve to continue the freedom struggle.
Bhat’s octogenarian mother Shahmala Begum spoke on the occasion and said she was willing to sacrifice her life for the freedom movement for which she had lost her four sons.
Meanwhile, soon after Zuhar prayers in Palhallan area of Baramulla district, clashes erupted between youth and government forces. Two protesters suffered injuries caused by pellets fired by the forces.
Witnesses said that protesting youth were trying to march towards the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad highway, but were stopped by the government forces near the local government higher secondary School at Naik Mohalla, triggering clashes. Government forces used teargas shells and PAVA shells to disperse the protesting youth.
All Party Huriyat Conference (G) thanked people of Kashmir “for making the three-day protest program of Joint Resistance Leaders a success”.
The Hurriyat reiterated the demand for the return of mortal remains of Muhammad Maqbool Bhat and Mohammad Afzal Guru.
“Hurriyat termed it as a referendum by the people across Kashmir in support of their freedom from Indian forcible occupation and a clear message to Indian rulers and world community that Kashmiris have never legitimized the Indian military occupation and will fight till the end of this brutal occupation for which our martyrs have sacrificed their precious lives,” the statement said.
Huriyat termed restrictions, crackdown against leaders and activists as the government attempt to “hide its dark face and weaknesses because whenever people held peaceful demonstrations they were stopped by police through violent means”.
The pro-freedom grouping condemned the arrest of Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Omer Farooq, Mohammad Yasin Malik, Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai, Shabir Ahmad Shah, Qazi Yasir, Nayem Ahmad Khan, Ayaz Akbar, Raja Meraj u Din, Mohamad Yasin Ataie, Mohammad Ashraf Laya, Syed Imtiyaz Hyder and scores of other leaders and activists.
“By calling the three-day program we want to send message to the world that the mortal remains of these two martyrs be returned to their families for their burial as per their religious rituals. Huriyat said until the mortal remains of both the martyrs are returned to their families, the entire nation will not budge on this demand,” the statement said.