Srinagar: The police on Wednesday arrested several pro-freedom leaders while putting others under house arrest ahead of the strike called on Thursday by three leaders of the pro-freedom camp against ‘townships for Pandits, Sainik colonies, shelters to homeless outsiders and the new industrial policy’.
In a raid on JKLF headquarters at Abi Guzer, the police arrested its Chairman, Yasin Malik, who was supposed to attend a Nikah Khwani of his cousin sister (sister of Shaheed Yasir Ahmad Sheikh who was killed in 2010 by police in Maisuma) scheduled at 5pm. Before being arrested, Malik, while briefly talking to reporters here, appealed to people to observe a complete shutdown on Thursday and hold peaceful demonstrations after Friday prayers.
“These acts (arrests) have once again exposed the ugly face of Indian democracy and of those who day in and day out propagate the battle of ideas and freedom of speech,” he said. Malik said that Kashmiris stand united against these ‘conspiratorial plots’ of India and arrests and other ‘oppressive measures (which) cannot deter them from their sacred mission’.
Hurriyat (G) spokesperson, Ayaz Akbar told Kashmir Reader that Syed Ali Shah Geelani was put under house arrest on Wednesday, at his Hyderpora residence.
“Additional forces have been deployed here at Geelani sahab’s residence and homes of a number of its leaders and workers have been raided and several of them have been arrested by the police,” Akbar said.
“Geelani sahab has urged all the people, especially youth, to hold peaceful demonstrations after Friday prayers while observing a shutdown as a protest against the treacherous plans by the PDP-BJP coalition,” he said.
Hurriyat (M) Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq along with spokesperson and JKLF (R) chairman, Javaid Ahmad Mir were also put under house arrest by the police on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Lashkar-e-Toiba, in a statement, has supported the strike called by the Azadi camp on Thursday. The ‘establishment of Sainik colonies is a planned strategy to change the demography of Kashmir which will be strongly resisted’, the statement said.