Srinagar: Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani and chairman Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front(JKLF) Yasin Malik Friday appealed people to maintain calm and not to indulge in group clashes even as police said it had identified “miscreants” responsible for the attacks . Chief Minister Omar Abdullah also vowed to go tough against those behind “terrorizing voters” in north Kashmir.
“We are brothers and clashes should not be allowed to happen at any cost. Who has voted and who has not, that stage is over now,” Geelani said in a video message on Youtube website.
Following the May 7 Baramulla Lok Sabha constituency elections, several people who had cast votes were Thursday thrashed and stripped by some youth in Baramulla and Sopore towns.
“I make a fervent appeal to people especially the youth to create a conducive atmosphere and not allow any civil strife in the valley,” Geelani said.
He expressed concern over reports of shopkeepers from Sopore being harassed in Handwara and Kupwara. “Similarly, it is unfortunate that people of Handwara and Kupwara are facing a tough time(in Sopore,” he said.
A statement issued by the amalgam later quoted Geelani as castigating the “people of Kupwara and Handwara for betraying the precious sacrifices of the whole nation especially north Kashmir.”
Geelani said that although casting votes was a condemnable act, “pro-freedom people, especially youth should show patience and prevent the situation from worsening further.”
“At the same time I question the people of Handwara and Kupwara, who voted for meager benefits, to ask their conscience whether they have done a condemnable or commendable act,” the statement quoted Geelani as saying.
“We should not force anybody to follow our policy or ideology, but we should fulfill our responsibility and make people who are deceived by pro-India parties aware about our sacred cause and sacrifices ,” Geelani said.
Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik also expressed concern over the “tension and chaos” in north Kashmir.
“The overwhelming majority of the people of Kashmir boycotted the drama of Indian elections and thus clearly showed their allegiance with the freedom movement . But at the same time we all must bear in mind that we will have to keep vigil and safeguard our unity and brotherhood and defeat the nefarious conspiracies of those who want to divide us for their own benefits and interests,” Malik was quoted as saying in a statement.
Meanwhile, a police spokesman said five cases were registered–three in Baramulla police station and two in Sopore police station–against the “miscreants who resorted to violence at some places in north Kashmir.”
“The miscreants involved in these acts of violence have been identified and special teams have been formed to arrest these culprits and a number of them involved in these incidents have been arrested,” the spokesman said.
The spokesman said no such incident of violence will be tolerated and stringent action will be taken against the guilty.
The police statement came hours after Chief Minister Omar Abdullah expressed strong resentment over the attacks, saying “gangs moving around trying to terrorise those who voted will not be tolerated.”
“Can’t have freedom to choose not to vote without allowing allowing people who want to vote a similar choice. Action will be taken against anyone found trying to terrorise voters & the police have been instructed accordingly,” he wrote on micro-blogging site Twitter.