Srinagar: Water canons, tear smoke canisters, batons were used by the police on Sunday to disperse a demonstration protesting against the government, which did not allow Syed Ali Geelani-led Tehreek-e-Hurriyat to organise a convention on its 11th founding day.
The Tehreek-e-Hurriyat activists demonstrated at Hyderpora after a large number of policemen and paramilitary soldiers were deployed in the area to scuttle the proposed convention Geelani was scheduled to address.
The policemen did not allow people and activists towards Geelani’s residence where the convention was to take place. In protest, the activists observed a peaceful sit-in but the police appeared adamant on not allowing them to assemble in any way.
A spokesman of Hurriyat Conference said about a dozen people were injured in police action, including TeH general secretary Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai.
Pictures of a couple of elderly men who fainted on streets went viral on social networking sites. Several activists were detained by the police.
The spokesman, quoting Geelani, said, “The slogans like ‘battle of ideas’ and goli nahi boli se baat banegi (talks, not bullets, will resolve issues) of Mufti Sayeed have proved to be a fraud. To protect his chair, he has surrendered all his authority, his powers and his conscience to the authorities in New Delhi.”
Geelani said all decisions regarding pro-freedom people in Kashmir are taken by Indian Home ministry itself and the “state government obeys these orders like a loyal servant”.
“Today’s programme was not a public programme but a close-door convention of select party members which could in no way have disturbed the law and order situation but by banning this peaceful programme the government proved that their decisions are undemocratic and immoral which have no justification,” he added.
However, deputy inspector general of police (central Kashmir) Ghulam Hassan Bhat told news agency KNS that police did not allow the TeH convention because it had no sought permission from the police.
“They were marching in a procession for which they had no permission so the police had to intervene and stop them because they had blocked the important Airport Road,” he said.
Mehboob Beg, PDP chief spokesman, told Indian Express, “He (Geelani) doesn’t have a good track record. Where ever he goes, it is followed by stone pelting.”
Asked by the newspaper that Geelani was not allowed a party convention inside the four walls of his residence, Beg said, “Now onwards, he would not be kept under house detention.”
Geelani is under house arrest since July 2010 and was released only for a month in 2013 when he was released by Omar Abdullag government. Following massive public rallies, he was then again put under house detention.