Geelani’s ‘freedom’ lasts 60 hours

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Mirwaiz, Sehraie detained at home, Malik sent to Central Jail

Muhammad Raafi

Srinagar: In less than three days, the much-hyped “Azadi” that the DGP announced for Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz and Yasin Malik, revealed itself to be a charade. On Monday the authorities put back in house detention Geelani and Mirwaiz and sent Yasin Malik back to central jail. Several other Hurriyat leaders and activists including Tehreek-e-Hurriyat’s new chairman, Muhammad Ashraf Sehraie, were detained at their respective residences.
Geelani had been freed from house arrest after eight years last Friday, after Director-General of Police (DGP) SP Vaid said that Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik were “Azad”, free to go anywhere they wish to. Vaid had also said that the trio was being freed on the condition that they should not make “anti-national” speeches or create “law and order problems”. It is not for violating these conditions that their “Azadi” has been revoked; the killing of thirteen local militants and four civilians in south Kashmir on Sunday, and the massive public protests that followed, have made the authorities retreat into doing what they know best: clamp restrictions and arrest or detain political opponents.
Hurriyat Conference (Geelani) spokesperson GA Gulzar told Kashmir Reader that Geelani was supposed to offer funeral prayers in absentia for the slain militants and civilians at Jamia Masjid Hyderpora today. “The police deployment that has been outside Geelani saab’s residence since 2010 did not allow him from moving out,” he said.
Another Hurriyat (G) spokesperson said that DGP Vaid’s statement had proved to be hoax. “Syed Ali Geelani (has) expressed deep anguish over the fresh wave of detaining leaders and reiterated that such oppressive measures will not succeed in crushing the people’s spirit,” he said.
Gulzar said that police had arrested more than 25 pro-freedom activists since Sunday morning. “I am myself detained in Kothibagh police station,” Gulzar told Kashmir Reader by phone. He said that among those who have been detained are Advocate Muhammad Ashraf Laya, Bilal Siddiqui, Ghulam Nabi Sumji, and Omar Adil Dar.
A spokesperson of the JKLF (Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front) also lashed out at the state government for detaining its chairperson, Yasin Malik. He said, “The JKLF chairman, who participated in the programme of funeral prayers in absentia at Sarai Bala on Sunday, was arrested by police on Monday morning and shifted to police station Kothibagh.”
He said that in the wee hours of Monday, police cordoned off the residence of Malik and took him away to the Kothibagh police station, from where he was shifted to Central Jail Srinagar on a three-day judicial remand.
The spokesperson said that police also raided the JKLF office and arrested zonal organiser Bashir Ahmad Kashmiri from there. “He was immediately shifted to Kothibagh police station,” he said.
A police official told Kashmir Reader that some arrests had been made as a precautionary measure, in wake of the situation that arose after the killings in south Kashmir.
Geelani, Mirwaiz and Malik, who came together in 2016 to form a united front which they later named Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), had called for a two-day shutdown to protest the killings in south Kashmir.