Hurriyat Seminar Banned by JK Government
Syed Ali Shah Geelani allowed to hold seminar in Srinagar
SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir Police Sunday disallowed a seminar called by Syed Ali Geelani-led faction of the Hurriyat Conference at his Srinagar residence.
The seminar titled “Islam–The Protector of Humanity” was supposed to be attended by prominent religious scholars, civil society activists and separatist leaders who were invited by Geelani to share their views on the topic.
However, since Sunday morning, all the roads leading to the venue in Hyderpora locality on the outskirts of Srinagar, were blocked by police personnel where many activists and journalists were turned away.
SSP Budgam, Fayaz Ahmad, said the Hurriyat had not obtained permission from the authorities. "We had told them to seek permission from the concerned District Magistrate. Such seminars have been allowed on many occasions in past, but they hadn't taken permission this time, so we stopped it," SSP Fayaz said.
However, the Hurriyat spokesperson, Ayaz Akbar, said there was no need for permission as the seminar was to be held within the four walls of Geelani's residence, "It was not a public function. It was a private function and there was no concern of law and order. It is a lame excuse," he said.
The Hurriyat activists later staged a protest at Hyderpora chowk to condemn the move of police. "The focus of the seminar was the massacre of innocents in France and other places of the world. Denial of the right to hold religious and academic events is the worst form of human rights violation and India has been indulging in this in Kashmir for a long time,” Akbar said.
Several leaders of the Hurriyat, who staged the protest, as well as some shopkeepers who allegedly defied the undeclared restrictions, were arrested. Police sources said most of them have been released.
This is for the third time in recent months that the authorities disallowed the Hurriyat Conference from organising seminars on issues of "public importance".
The separatists have accused the chief minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, of backtracking on his promise of "Battle of Ideas", alleging that the new government is "more repressive" in curtailing the voices of Hurriyat leaders.
Earlier, the moderate Hurriyat chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, was detained after he called a seminar on new tactics of protest in Kashmir, although the seminar was allowed as per schedule.