Pro-freedom leaders put under house arrest, several activists detained; curfew likely in old city
Srinagar: The proposed united programme announced by the Azadi camp on the Martyrs Day on Monday is unlikely to become a reality because the government put under house arrest the entire pro-freedom leadership and decided to impose curfew-like restrictions around the Martyrs Graveyard and most of the old city.
The two Hurriyats and Jammu and Kashmir Liberation (JKLF) had planned to take out a peaceful march from Jamia Masjid to the Martyrs Graveyard at Khanqah-i-Naqshband Sahab on July 13, the day the last Dogra Maharaja’s army massacred 22 Kashmiris outside the Srinagar central jail.
The decision by the pro-freedom leadership to jointly observe Martyrs’ Day as Youm-e-Tajdeed (he day of renewal) is seen as a response to right-wing Hindu parties who have often rallied against this day in Kashmir. The BJP, which is the partner in the coalition government with PDP, has called it “so-called Martyrs’ Day” and proposed a discussion over it to ascertain whether it deserved to be called so.
The pro-freedom leaders had also announced that there will be no shutdown call on July 13, the first time in the past 25 years.
Following the proposed programme, the pro-freedom groups said the police launched a massive crackdown on their leaders, workers and activists to foil the march.
Hurriyat (G) spokesman Ayaz Akbar said that ailing chairman of the conglomerate Syed Ali Geelani continues to be under house arrest since his arrival from New Delhi on April 15.
“The authorities also put me under house arrest. Our senior leaders Raja Mehrajudin has been detained at Nowgam police station,” Akbar said.
“The police has started crackdown on our workers and leaders since early morning. They have raided their homes as well,” he added.
Hurriyat (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was also placed under house arrest at his Nageen residence.
“The cruel authorities restricted the social, political and religious activities of Mirwaiz by placing him under house. It as a highly condemnable act,” a Hurriyat (M) spokesman said.
The spokesman likened the curbs on Mirwaiz to “state sponsored terrorism,” adding the government has been unnerved by the united programme of the pro-freedom groups.
The spokesman also condemned raids on the homes of Hurriyat leaders Engineer Hilal Ahmad War and Javaid Ahmad Mir.
JKLF chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik was also placed under house arrest by the police. Noor Mohammad Kalwal, JKLF zonal president, was detained at Nowhatta police station last night.
While the pro-freedom groups announced the programme would be organised despite government
restrictions, a senior police official told Kashmir Reader that it will not be allowed at any cost.
He said more pro-freedom activists and leaders might be arrested, and areas under the jurisdiction of seven police stations in the city
Ruling PDP’s coalition partner BJP has already decided not to observe the July 13 martyrs day saying “it was questionable whether Kashmiris killed were martyrs”.
The right wing Pandit Panun Kashmir had announced that it will observe July 13 martyrs day as black day while Vishwa Hindu Parishad has also strongly opposed the observance of this day.