Geelani, Mirwaiz defy restrictions, detained

Protest strike extended till Friday; ask Mehbooba to ‘talk according to her size’
A Aalim Ahmad
Srinagar: Pro-freedom leaders Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Wednesday attempted to escape the police siege outside their residences in order to march towards the Martyr’s Graveyard in old Srinagar to pay their respects to the 1931 martyrs.
The duo was released in the evening, escorted to their respective houses where they were imprisoned again.
Earlier in the day, police foiled their attempts and took both the leaders into custody. While Geelani was lodged at police post Humhama, Mirwaiz was taken to Hazratbal police superintendent’s office at Nigeen.
The pro-freedom leadership is under tremendous public pressure to come out to lead the massive public uprising following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter in Kokernag on July 8.
However, the state government has imprisoned all pro-freedom leaders either in their homes or police stations. Dozens of pro-freedom activists, categorized as ‘public-mobilizers’ have been rounded up in various parts of the Valley, sources said.
On Wednesday, veteran and ailing Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Geelani came out of his Hyderpora residence and began marching towards the main road. He had planned to visit the Martyr’s Graveyard to pay homage to 1931 martyrs. While Geelani and a handful of his colleagues reached the main road, police swung into action and bundled them in vehicles.
Geelani argued with the police and paramilitary troopers but they refused to allow him proceed. He was later escorted to Humhama police post. This year, Geelani has seldom been allowed to come out from his residence but the curbs were intensified since massive protests erupted in the Valley since Saturday last.
Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, head of Hurriyat Conference (M), also attempted to break the police cordon outside his Nigeen mansion. Mirwaiz and his supporters first tried to convince the policemen to open the gate but they flatly refused. Later, Mirwaiz tried to jump from the fencing but he was eventually taken into custody by the police and paramilitaries who were deployed in strength outside his residence.
Meanwhile, the pro-freedom leadership in a joint statement announced to extend the shutdown call to July 15. In a joint statement, Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik asked the people of both the parts of Kashmir (including Pakistan administered Kashmir) to observe a complete shutdown on Thursday and Friday.
The leaders condemned the ban on July 13 programme and detention of pro-freedom activists.
The leaders asked imams and preachers to repeat the demand for the right to self-determination in mosques after Friday prayers. The leaders welcomed the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s statement as “a good sign” but urged the UN to come forward for solid steps to resolve the Kashmir issue.
“To stop oppression against the human lives, the UN should play its role,” the statement said.
They termed the Narendra Modi led meeting held in New Delhi as traditional and meaningless. “Kashmir is neither an issue of law and order nor an economic problem. It is an old political and human problem that needs to be addressed according to the aspirations of people and ground realities in Kashmir,” the joint statement said.
“India has been demonstrating its rigidity in Kashmir for last 69 years but that could not change the reality regarding Kashmir, neither could it change the minds of people. The Indian rulers are still not behaving in mature way with Kashmiris and are stuck to their old and failed policy of acting blind,” the statement reads.
The leadership declared the decision taken by Modi of sending Indian imams to Kashmir as a futile exercise.
“These imams and moulvis are on the pay rolls of Indian government and they are being used as stooges. There are no takers in Kashmir for such people,” the statement added.
Pro-freedom leaders also termed Mehbooba Mufti’s statement as childish and foolish.
“What is happening in Kashmir is not happening for the first time. The oppression continues since India occupied Kashmir and we are witnessing revolt against the occupation now. Mehbooba should not to talk beyond her size and make a joke of herself,” the statement said.