Move ‘completely exposes’ NIA investigation, says resistance leadership
Srinagar: A day after the Director General of Police (DGP) said that they were “free to go anywhere”, the police on Saturday did not allow Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik to board a flight to New Delhi. The resistance leaders had planned to court arrest at the headquarters of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to bring to an end the hounding of pro-freedom groups in Kashmir.
Mirwaiz was detained in his Nigeen residence on Friday night, with increased deployment of government forces outside the house. Roads leading to his house were sealed and forces’ vehicles were stationed at all entry points. Malik was arrested from his residence and first lodged at Kothi Bagh police station, from where he was shifted to Central Jail Srinagar.
The octogenarian Geelani continues to remain under house detention.
Police justified the action saying, “They (the resistance leaders) were planning a rally before leaving for New Delhi.”
“Yes, they were free to go anywhere, but not at the cost of law and order,” DGP Vaid told Kashmir Reader on Saturday.
“We had reports that they (Geelani, Mirwaiz and Malik) had asked people to assemble and take out a rally (before they boarded the flight at Srinagar airport) which would have led to violence and we cannot take such a risk,” Vaid said, adding, “The police just don’t want a law and order problem in Srinagar.”
The Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) in a statement denounced the police action. “This move completely exposes the so-called investigation and its actual purpose,” Geelani, Mirwaiz and Malik said in a joint statement. “Let the investigating agency (NIA) arrest and ask us regarding the charges levelled against our organisations and the people’s political movement. Why were we barred?”
The JRL said that the state government had made tall claims of “everyone being free to go anywhere”.
“[By] stopping the resistance leadership from courting arrest, giving contradictory statements and creating a law and order bogey, they (the state government) have exposed themselves and their bluff,” the statement said. “NIA should put an immediate end to this harassment.”
Reacting to the claim made by the police that they were apprehensive of a law and order problem, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq told Kashmir Reader, “This is just a bluff. The actions of police have exposed the state government as well the Government of India, which claims that Hurriyat (Conference) was behind the peoples’ movement. The so-called investigation by NIA has got exposed after we were stopped. They have been running a media trial for the last three months, and we had volunteered to court arrest to present ourselves for investigation, but they were exposed after this action.”
The JRL statement said, “…along with brute military force, the Indian state is deploying all its institutions to crush our movement. For the past three months, repeated raids, notices and arrests by the NIA – an unaccountable machinery unleashed upon Kashmiris from different segments of society including political activists, our relatives and associates, lawyers, businessmen, journalists, students and others – is being carried out to intimidate and instil fear among the masses, while simultaneously an all-out vicious and venomous propaganda campaign to defame and malign the leadership and the peoples’ political struggle is being aggressively pursued by electronic print and social media. Lies and falsehoods about us and the people’s political struggle are promoted and spread. Our just and legitimate indigenous political movement, for which people have given extreme sacrifices, has been branded as sponsored and linked to terrorism and monetary benefits. We, our activists and those associated with the movement have been abused and vilified and have been accused of being associated with the sacred movement for monetary gains. All this is being done under a ploy to change the narrative on the Kashmir dispute, demoralise and disillusion the people regarding their internationally recognised and legitimate political struggle and their leadership, while misleading the Indian masses about the reality of Kashmir and the ground situation here.”
The JRL reiterated the strike call for Sunday against the Indian Home minister’s visit and appealed to people “to stay resolute and steadfast”.