Srinagar: Amid curfew-like restrictions in parts of uptown Srinagar, police on Monday detained JKLF chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik along with dozens of his associates to scuttle their march to historic Lal Chowk as a part of the pro-independence party’s ‘Quit Kashmir movement’.
The areas falling under Kralkhud and Maisuma police stations were placed under a siege since early Monday morning by government forces to thwart the JKLF’s proposed rally to the city centre, eyewitnesses said.
A contingent of CRPF troopers in full riot gear was deployed around the volatile Maisuma locality that houses the headquarters of JKLF. The forces had also erected barricades and laid spools of razor wire to cut off Maisuma from rest of the city.
“The forces restricted the movement of civilians to foil the JKLF programme. No one was allowed to venture out of their houses,” the eyewitnesses said.
Besides Maisuma, Lal Chowk, the commercial hub of this capital city was also under a constant vigil of the alert forces.
Elsewhere in the Valley, a complete shutdown was observed with all shops, business establishments and educational institutions shut on the JKLF call. Attendance in government offices was also thin, as the public transport was off the roads, while a few private vehicles were seen plying on the otherwise busy roads of this capital city.
As the day progressed, Yasin Malik, who had gone into hiding, surfaced from Maisuma and tried to march towards Lal Chowk. However, the forces, deployed in advance, swung into action and detained Malik and his associates.
After Maisuma, JKLF activists led by Advocate Bashir Ahmed Butt converged at Batamaloo and started a march towards Lal Chowk. However, the police intercepted them near Recca Chowk and detained Butt, Showkat Ahmed Bakhshi, Mushtaq Ajmal and other senior party leaders.
Another JKLF leader, Noor Mohammad Kalwal was detained when he tried to take out a march to Lal Chowk from the Old City.
Processions were also taken out by JKLF leaders and cadres from other parts of the Valley.
Meanwhile, Yasin Malik termed Monday’s rallies and protests from both sides of Kashmir as “historic and an eye-opener.” Addressing media before his detention, Malik said, “This day is historical and so is today’s protest, and Kashmiris across the cities and villages of Valley and Azad Kashmir have given a befitting reply to those forces which are inimical towards Kashmiris and who want to snatch from us our national pride, our Muslim identity and weaken our freedom and resistance movement.”
The marches and shutdown, Malik said, have once again demonstrated that Kashmiris will never budge before the oppressive measures by tyrants and will always resist the anti-Kashmiri nefarious designs of right wing parties like RSS and BJP. He said that the enemies of Jammu Kashmir are conspiring to destroy and snatch the Muslim identity from Jammu Kashmir
“RSS and BJP are planning to declare lakhs of refugees as the citizens of Jammu Kashmir to change the demography of Jammu Kashmir. Kashmiris cannot remain silent over this and will fight all these conspiracies and resist all these anti-Kashmiri moves and motives,” Malik added.