Srinagar: Several pro-freedom leaders, including JKLF chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik, were taken into preventive custody and several others were placed under house arrest to scuttle protests after Friday prayers against the Army’s recent decision to close Pathribal fake encounter case.
Malik and 10 of his senior party colleagues were detained when they tried to take out a march to Lal Chowk from their headquarters at Maisuma in the heart of the city Friday afternoon, reports said.
JKLF had announced a march to Lal Chowk after Friday prayers to protest the Army’s decision to close the Pathribal fake encounter case by giving clean chit to its personnel.
“Killing civilians in the name of foreign militants and then giving killers clean chit is an ugly stain on the Indian democracy… The family of the victims are waiting for justice for the last 14 years,” Malik told the gathering before the police action. He claimed there is no logic behind closing the case as even CBI has described the killing of seven persons at Pathribal as cold-blooded murders and pleaded for exemplary punishment to the accused officials.
“After 14 years we are being told that army has found no evidence of the involvement of its men in the massacre and that army has closed this case,” he said, adding “Kashmiris will not take this issue lightly and will continue their protest with full force.” Malik threatened to launch an indefinite hunger strike if the Army didn’t revoke its verdict in the case.Several leaders of the Mirwaiz Umar Farooq-led Hurriyat Conference, which had called for a strike against the army decision in the valley, were also either detained or put under house arrest.
While Chairman of People’s League and senior executive member Mukhtar Ahmad Waza, chairman of breakaway faction of JKLF Javid Mir and Salvation Movement chairman Zaffer Akbar Bhat were taken into custody during separate raids in Srinagar and Anantnag last night, several other leaders of the amalgam were placed under house arrest.
Several leaders of the recently formed Hurriyat Conference (JK) including Shabir Ahmad Shah, Nayeem Ahmad Khan, Farooq Ahmad Dar alias Bitta Karate and Mohammad Yousuf Naqash were also placed under house arrest last night.
The Hurriyat faction had also called for shutdown to protest against the closure of the Pathribal fake encounter case relating to the killing of five innocent persons who were later dubbed as foreign militants in March 2000.
After lengthy legal process to determine whether the five Army personnel accused in the case should be tried in view of the immunity under AFSPA, the Army opted for General Court Martial.
The Army recently closed the case for lack of evidence, a decision that led to widespread condemnation from both the pro-India and pro-freedom camps in the valley.