Police foil JRL march in Srinagar; curbs in Trehgam; separatists caged; train service suspended
A complete shutdown was observed across Kashmir on Monday to pay homage to JKLF founder, Mohammad Maqbool Bhat on his 35th hanging anniversary.
All shops, business establishments and petrol pumps remained closed in Srinagar and other parts of the Valley to protest against the hanging of Bhat.
Bhat was hanged in Tihar Jail in New Delhi on February 11, 1984. His body was also secretly buried there.
The public transport was also off the roads across the Valley in view of strike called by Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL).
The heavy contingent of police and CRPF were deployed in downtown areas of Srinagar to prevent public processions and protests on Bhat’s anniversary.
The concertina wires and barricades were placed on the roads in sensitive areas of downtown to restrict public movement.
The vehicular movement towards Ghanta Ghar in Lal Chowk was also restricted as CRPF men were deployed in strength there. The paramilitary personnel were conducting patrol around the iconic clock tower.
At around noon, scores of JRL activists including JKLF leaders defied the restrictions, appeared at Maisuma and staged a protest demonstration.
The protesting activists were demanding return of mortal remains of Bhat and Afzal Guru, who was also hanged in Tihar jail on February 9, 2013.
The protestors started marching towards Budshah Chowk forces. However, they were intercepted by the policemen. Several of the protestors including some JKLF leaders were detained by police and lodged in nearby police station.
Police also detained six activists of Muslim Khawateen Markaz (MKM) including its chairperson Yasmeen Raja.
At Bhat’s native village Trehgam in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district, authorities imposed restrictions to prevent people from visiting the village.
The force personnel in strength were deployed at Trehgam and they restricted people from adjacent areas from visiting the village.
However, defying restrictions, people in Trehgam took out a protest march against Bhat’s hanging. Chanting pro-freedom slogans, the protestors were demanding return of mortal remains of Bhat and Guru.
Later, people paid tributes to Bhat and offered condolences with his family.
JRL comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik had called for complete strike to mark Bhat’s 35th death anniversary.
JRL had asked people to protest and press for the return of mortal remains of Guru and Bhat to their respective families.
The authorities detained senior and middle rung separatist leaders to prevent them from taking out protest marches.
Hurriyat (G) Chairman Syed Ali Geelani remained under house arrest at his Hyderpora residence while Mirwaiz also remained under house arrest at his Nageen residence. JKLF chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik is in police detention.
Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai, Javaid Ahmad Mir, Mukhtar Waza, Muhammad Ashraf Laya, Imtiaz Haider, Hilal Ahmad Mir and JKLF leaders Noor Muhammad Kalwal, Showkat Bakshi and Mohammad Saleem Nanaji were either placed under house detention or taken into preventive police custody.
Meanwhile, train service in the Valley was suspended for security reasons in view of the shutdown.
An official said the train service between Baramulla and Banihal would resume only after green signal is received from police.