Malik arrested on eve of Gaw Kadal massacre anniversary; 3 arrested in Baramulla during night raid, triggering clashes
Srinagar: Friday again saw clashes at several places across Kashmir after the congregational prayers. In many areas a general shutdown was observed in accordance with the protest calendar issued by pro-freedom leaders.
Scores of youth pelted police and paramilitary forces with stones in Srinagar’s Nowhatta near the Jamia Masjid. Several masked protesters also burned posters of Kashmir-born child actress Zaira Wasim.
The posters featured Zaira sitting with Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, a photograph taken during a recent meeting between the two.
Clashes were also reported near Sopore’s Jamia Masjid in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district where, according to eye-witnesses, protesters shouted slogans in support of Azadi.
To disperse the protesters, police and paramilitary forces resorted to heavy teargas shelling.
Shops and business establishments remained shut to observe the strike call, including in Srinagar’s commercial centre, Lal Chowk. Traffic movement, however, remained relatively less affected as private and public transport was seen plying in several areas.
The strike call given by pro-freedom leaders was to observe Friday as Youm-i-Mazahamat day. Most shops in south Kashmir and north Kashmir, especially in Baramulla and Sopore, remained shut.
According to eye-witnesses, protests were reported in Baramulla following the arrest of at least four people, including two brothers, in Fatehgrah village in a raid on Thursday night. Locals at Fatehgrah said government forces reached the village at 10 pm and began door-to-door searches to arrest the youth.
“People took to streets and held protests. They hurled stones and rocks at the forces and the forces fired at least three tear smoke shells to disperse them,” an eye-witness said.
The arrested youth were identified as Muzamil Bashir Sofi and his brother Junaid ul Islam Sofi, Mohammad Yousuf Sofi and Mohammad Asif Yatoo.
The locals also accused the forces of causing ‘havoc’ during the raid.
Meanwhile, Chairman Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) Muhammad Yasin Malik was arrested by police and sent to central jail Srinagar, the party spokesperson said. The arrest comes on the eve of the Gaw Kadal massacre.
“Police and forces today raided the residence of JKLF chairman and after taking him into custody immediately shifted him to central jail Srinagar,” a spokesperson said.
The JKLF chairman told reporters earlier that the “so-called rulers have yet again chosen to put him behind bars as they are not able to compete with the resistance camp on political levels.”
Stating that the chief minister made much noise in the state assembly about no one being rearrested after court orders, Malik said, “Contrary to her claims, hundreds are being illegally detained even after their PSAs have been quashed by court and their families are still being terrorised by the police.”
Malik said that “jails and incarcerations cannot deter us from pursuing the path of truth and resistance and the journey for freedom will continue with passion and zeal.”