Malik, Mirwaz Again Under Detention, Protests Continue
SRINAGAR: Cracking the whip, authorities rearrested the JKLF chief Yasin Malik while moderate Hurriyat chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, was put under house detention a day after the top separatist leadership in Kashmir decided to continue with the protest program.
Reports said a team of J&K police, accompanied by paramilitary troopers, arrived at Malik's Maisuma residence on Thursday afternoon and whisked him away to Kothi Bagh police station here, sparking mild sloganeering in the area. A JKLF spokesman said Malik was later shifted to Central Jail Srinagar.
Mirwaiz, who is also the chief cleric of Kashmir, was put under house arrest ahead of the Hurriyat's 'chalo' call to the historic Jamia Masjid in downtown Srinagar where prayers have been disallowed since the civilian uprising erupted after the killing of Burhan Wani.
Protests broke out yesterday near the historic mosque after some locals tried to offer prayers there. A senior J&K Police officer said the fresh crackdown on the Hurriyat comes as a "precautionary measure to prevent law and order problems" ahead of the Jamia Masjid chalo call today.
The Hurriyat leaders were set free by the authorities to facilitate their meeting with the stakeholders, including business bodies, civil society and politico-religious groups to chart out the future of the protest program that has brought life in Kashmir to a grinding halt over the last four months.
However, the deliberations in the meeting ended with a majoritarian call for continuing the protest program, despite the costs, after which the Hurriyat issued its weekly protest calendar yesterday, dealing a blow to the state government's efforts of restoring normalcy.
Condemning the arrests, chairman of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, Syed Ali Geelani, who continues to remain under house arrest, said it reflects the "frustration of the government", accusing it of "succumbing to the pressures and dictates of saffron regime" while making "tall claims of peace and tranquility".
Kashmir remains tense with the civil uprising following the killing of Burhan Wani and the subsequent shutdown and protests in its fifth month now. So far, nearly hundred protesters have been killed while thousands are injured - some of them blinded for life during one of the harshest crackdowns on the protesters.
(Cover Photograph BASIT ZARGAR: women protest in Soura, Sringar)